“Because of illness we broke up right after the wedding.” The story of a young woman with bipolar disorder living in Italy

Ecaterina is 34 years old. At the age of 23, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia in Romania. Three years later, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in Italy. She was hospitalized both with us and with them and makes a comparison of the way she was treated, as a psychiatric patient, in the two countries. She also tells how it all started, how she feels when she is in the manic stage and how she was left right after the wedding due to illness.

CatherinePhoto: Personal archive

Ecaterina is 34 years old and wrote to us using the “Tell your story” form, where anyone who wants to share their experience related to physical, mental or emotional suffering can contact us. She had read the story of Oana, a young woman with bipolar disorder, and wanted to share hers as well, all the more since she experienced life as a psychiatric patient in two countries: Romania and Italy. Ecaterina wants the world to know how important it is to be diagnosed correctly, to receive the appropriate treatment for your disease, but also how important it is to have community mental health services, where you can receive pills and attention.

From Moldova to Romania. Adolescence

Ecaterina was born in Moldova and lived in Chisinau until she was 16. Then, as a result of an agreement between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, he went to continue his high school in Sibiu. At first, it was difficult for her to adapt, even though she had a few colleagues from across the Prut, with whom she lived in the same student dormitory. She was, however, a teenager in a foreign country, with a Moldavian accent, far from family and friends. Gradually, he integrated. She had been taught the hard way since the age of 12 anyway, when her mother had gone to Italy to work, and she had been left responsible for cooking, including for her father and two older brothers.

“Maybe I didn’t go out as much as other girls who lived with families, because I had to take care of myself, cook for myself, I wasn’t very good with money either. We, those who came from Moldova, were more responsible compared to those who stayed at home with their parents and did not have to make food, shop and manage their budget”, recalls Ecaterina with a smile on her face, because that period was, anyway, a beautiful one in her life.

After high school, he moved to Cluj-Napoca, where he studied public administration at the Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences (FSPAC). In college, she says, it was better, because young people from all over came to Cluj. “In Sibiu I was like a wine, something exotic, from the Republic of Moldova, but in Cluj it was even better, because there were people from all over and there were even more from the Republic of Moldova, there was also an organization of Bessarabians, who did everything the kind of events. I was already going out more, like when I was a student,” she says. He followed his master’s degree, also in Cluj, and that’s when the problems started.

The first manic episode, the first hospitalization in psychiatry

In 2013, Ecaterina was 23 years old and in the first year of her master’s degree. She was ambitious and involved, so she and several colleagues received a scholarship that required them to work on a research paper. She was very focused on everything the scholarship entailed, then she had the exam session, after which she went on holiday with her boyfriend in Greece. So far so good. “And on the way back my thoughts and ideas grabbed me,” she says. On the way back by coach from Greece, Ecaterina went into what is called a manic episode, only she didn’t know it was happening to her.


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