Today, we continue to honor our veterans with a personal story from CFYM reader Toni Ankrom, U.S Navy, Retired. Recognizing the impact peer support had in her own life, Toni pays it forward by advocating for access to quality mental health care for Veterans and challenges mental health organizations to continue to embrace the Recovery treatment model.
I am a Gulf War Era retired, disabled Navy Veteran. I spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy. During ten of those active duty years I lived with bipolar disorder symptoms. I experienced most of the symptoms of hypomania and some of mania. I would stay awake for many days on end…energy, energy, energy…fast, fast, fast, with unusual creative thinking. These episodes were followed by the darkest depression which my wonderful husband helped me through – over and over again. The military finally treated the depression with medication calling it “situational depression” and ignored the mania because I could work and work like the Energizer Bunny. I was very lucky to have such a supportive husband. He made sure I got up, showered, ate, and looked presentable for duty. I have to say that I didn’t feel presentable. I wanted to crawl into a closet and cover up with a blanket.