First of all I would like to thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country. I recently started listening to this podcast after my father recommended it to me and I’ve been recommending it to my friends ever since. My story is one that many people around the world struggle with in secret. I have Bipolar Disorder Type 1 and severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which impacts my ability to perform in the workplace. It is difficult to live a normal life when you hear voices telling you to kill yourself, flashbacks to traumatic events, and disturbing and violent thoughts. I take many medications to stabilize my mood swings and the cost of this medication along with weekly therapy sessions can cost more than $1000 per month even with health insurance. This is a tremendous financial burden because I am a recent college graduate. I make around $2,200 per month after tax and my rent costs $1050 per month (that’s pretty cheap for NYC). That leaves me with just $150 for food and transportation for one month. Therefore I am entirely dependent on my parents for money and I have to ration my food supply. On the outside I appear to have it all: I have a great job, lots of friends, a supportive family, and I’m in healthy physical shape. Unfortunately the medications I take at night include antipsychotics that have the side effect of sedation which makes it almost impossible to get out of bed in time for work in the morning. Sometimes I will show up to work an hour or two late and my boss is not happy about that. I had to tell her that I have a “sleeping problem” that requires sedatives because I am afraid of the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace. It is so hard to live in pain and be unable to tell anyone about it. If I told the company I work for that I have a mental illness I might be treated like some kind of freak. If I told the great guy I’m dating that I have a mental illness would he still want to go out with me? Who wants to have kids with someone who could pass down Bipolar Disorder to the next generation? If I get pregnant the medication I take will certainly deform a fetus. There are some medications that claim to not affect the health of an unborn child but I am not sure if they work. Now more than ever I need to hear your podcast’s message of never quit because I’ve been thinking about killing myself to end the pain. Recently I’ve been having depressive episodes and the cracks in the mask of normalcy I wear at work are beginning to show. Last week I had to take a day off of work because I couldn’t stop crying and I was hyperventilating so much that I couldn’t get out of bed. I don’t know if I can keep this up much longer but I know I have to try for the sake of my family and friends. But there is hope in this story. Every time I feel depressed I think about how God has provided for me, how He has given me the gift of life. He cares about each and every one of us and I know, even when all hope is lost, that I have not been forgotten.