Before My Troubles Really Began

I was eighteen in this picture, smiling and looking my best while waiting for my date to pick me up for his prom dance. I had never seen the inside of a mental hospital, but I had been feeling a little different from my peers for about four years.

I was an award-winning student and athlete, but sometimes I had tremendous amounts of energy, and, on occasion, I could barely move. At that point, I had experienced more mania than depression. I knew that I smiled and laughed more than most of my friends, and sometimes I became extremely intense. People told me to, "Take a chill pill!" (a popular expression at the time).

The winter before this picture was taken, I slipped into a depression. I got up, got dressed, and went to school, but that was about it. I quit wearing the makeup I was used to wearing on a daily basis, didn't do much to my hair, and dressed in the first thing I pulled out of the closet. I was also really quiet. A couple of my teachers called my parents to ask if I was okay. They were worried that I was taking drugs, which I wasn't. One Friday night, a guy who was friends with my sister, coaxed me out of the house and took me to a party. He thought it would help, but I felt totally isolated and alone in the crowd that night.

My parents didn't know what to do, so they asked around and found a psychologist for me to talk to. He was a kindly older man with a beard. We talked for a long time, and he advised me to leave my small city and encouraged me to apply to Ivy League schools. That was flattering, but I can't say it helped. Eventually I got better though, and kept moving forward. I had slowed down, but I still hadn't broken down. That would happen a year and a half later.


  1. The last line of this entry is like the last line of a chapter from a book you want to keep reading. Your blog is very interesting. I admire your ability to put yourself out there like this.

  2. Thanks for reading. I'm just being myself and I have a lot to write about.

  3. Anonymous7/05/2011

    Folks, Andrea was indeed every bit as hot and infectiously happy as this picture indicated. I knew her throughout high school and after but since this post focuses on the early days, so to speak, so shall I. Sure, there were times she was intense but it was a good thing for someone like me who often felt a kind of chilly isolation from even my closest of friends. Andrea could always break through that feeling of distance and I felt like every time we interacted I really connect, maybe even grew a little bit under her friendship. Even when she was distant or sad. -- Tony