Millions of Americans suffer, or have suffered, or will suffer from a mental illness.
From a distance, Amanda Williams looks like an ordinary Mississippi girl. She enjoys singing and playing her guitar, as well as feeding the fish in the pond. But it turns out Amanda actually suffers from bipolar disorder and those hobbies are a positive way to cope with her disorder.
"I've dealt with issues such as cutting and self-harm issues," Williams admits. "I've done some pretty harmful things to myself in my life. I've used that as a coping skill, a bad coping skill."
Since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder two years ago, Amanda has been living at the Central Mississippi Residential Center in Newton. She says while most days are good, there is the occasional bad day and says her family and the staff at CMRC help her through it.
"Bipolar is a mood imbalance," CMRC Clinical Director Dr. Steve Smith says. "I mean, it's associated with major depressive episodes. But it also brings with it cycling to manic episodes. In fact, the diagnostic criteria requires that there be at least one manic or major depressive or mixed type of manic episode in the past. "
"Awesome coping skills out there," Williams points out. "We can seek support and we can move forward and there is just so much life to live."
Experts say bipolar disorder is something millions of Americans are faced with, but something that is managable and something that patients should not let define who they are.