After withdrawing from the college of my choice in a state of depression, I returned home and experienced depersonalization. It felt like I was in a Snoopy cartoon where the adults were talking but it sounded like nonsense. In other
words, my body felt disconnected from the my mind, my brain and my emotions. I didn’t leave my house for a month… not even to smoke a cigarette in the backyard which was unusual for me. My parents were concerned and my Mom pleaded with me to
see a therapist. I finally gave in to get her off my back.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I and shortly thereafter put on medication. The story I want to tell though is not about my diagnosis but about what happened after I turned 21, 3 years later.
Right before I turned 21, I started dating a new guy. Drinking a good amount of alcohol combined with the lack of sleep from constantly going out, the small amount of food I was consuming and the eventual forgetting to take my medication is what my
Mom later referred to as The Perfect Storm. Miraculously, my parents convinced me to go see the therapist I’d had since I was diagnosed. They could clearly see the full blown and severe manic episode I was going through. My Dad drove me
there and came into the office with me which I thought was weird since he hadn’t done that before. My therapist and my Dad proceeded to tell me that I needed to be checked into a psychiatric ward and stabilized because my mania had
completely taken over and they were worried. In my altered state and because I had never been hospitalized, all I saw were scenes from “Girl, Interrupted” and I vehemently refused then bolted from the office. I remember running across the
street to a coffee shop and then quickly leaving when I realized I didn’t have any money. I called the guy I had started dating only 20 days earlier but he couldn’t understand anything I was saying while I was crying hysterically.

Then… darkness.

Almost 12 years later, I still don’t remember exactly what occurred between walking on the sidewalk while talking on the phone and being face down on the street that I had just so dangerously crossed. I think my brain has blocked out this
trauma to protect me. My first memory was a cop sitting on my back while my eyes burned from mace and my wrists were in cuffs. I’m unsure of that order of events too. In my delusional state, I misunderstood the cops and I thought that I had killed a police officer which only
made me fall deeper into my “manic black hole”. The reality was that I had allegedly scratched a police officer. I was charged with battery against a police officer and resisting arrest. This was my first ever arrest.
I still don’t remember the exact order of events that followed but I do recall some of the things that happened.

I was transported while handcuffed in an armored car in the night.

I was put into a holding cell and the other women backed away from me because they were probably scared.

I was locked in a solitary confinement cell where I “met the Devil”.

I was finally taken to a hospital since I had bruises and scratches on my body from being thrown to the ground. I had also landed on my tooth which became chipped as a result. I think they might have done a rape kit on me since
I was incoherent. There was a TV on in the corner of the room and it was on an entertainment channel. The celebrities’ faces were twisted into themselves.

I still hadn’t been medicated for what seemed like days when it was probably only hours.

Eventually I made it to a crisis center which was the only place that had a bed open. It was about an hour or so from where I lived at the time. I recovered there for several days before returning home.

What I learned later is that more C.I.T. or Crisis Intervention Training for the cops would have made this situation much more manageable. At that time, due to budget cuts, police departments were unfortunately not given enough C.I.T.
There are organizations out there who are trained specifically to help those with mental illness. I hold no ill will towards my therapist who called the police or the cops themselves because I know we all do the best with the tools that we have.

The point of this story is not to upset anyone or garner pity. I’m telling this story to finally heal from the trauma that I experienced. If my story can help even one person, that would make me ecstatic.

I am thankful to have gone through this because I have learned many things about myself and the injustices people with mental illness face. It makes me more determined to help others learn how to deal with their disorder by sharing what
I have learned. Looking back, I am a stronger, more determined and more resilient person because of what happened. This also reminds me of my favorite quote, “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way”.

Today I am the healthiest I have ever been both mentally and physically. I have incorporated a new sleep routine because I now understand how important sleep is for me. I do meditation, breathing exercises and affirmations in the mirror
every morning. I watch what I eat but still have a little sugar from time to time. I do my best to exercise every day because if I don’t exercise, I usually don’t sleep well. Life is about a slow, paced kind of balance in my opinion.

The best advice I can give to anyone still reading is: Never Stop Trying To Be Better Than You Were Yesterday. You Are Your Only Competition. Don’t Forget: Progress Not Perfection. Everything Takes Time… Good Things Come To Those Who
Wait. You Never Know What Is Around The Corner Or Down The Street. What’s Important Is To NEVER Give Up.



The author is Yasemin Frances Karisma, born in Boynton Beach, FL. She any form of Art, especially dancing and film. She loves animals, fashion and street art. She loves as hard as possible because she has so much Love to give. She believes positive change comes from positive intention. Determination is her greatest asset because she won’t stop doing her thing until she proves everyone wrong.