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Bipolar Disorder Disabled Young Man Seeks Government Education Grant

by Matthew Ashley
(Cartersville, Georgia, USA)

I am a 22-year-old man living with bipolar disorder. I am not married but do have two brothers and two sisters.

My two sisters always make straight As and no matter how hard I try I can never achieve that level. I studied for hours to retain information and try to apply it but my methods do not work.

I have always dreamed about being in the Air force but due to my bipolar problem I have been denied access. I guess you can say that my dream came from my dad (Sergeant Ashley).

My dad has been in the military over 10 years and is currently stationed at Dobbins Air reserve currently being changed to the Clay National Guard Center.

Overall I have been blessed with the best family I could ever ask for. My stepmom is the strongest woman I know. She was there to love me when my biological mother told me to my face that I was a mistake.

My dad has been blessed to have met my stepmother. Where other women would have fled, she stayed and battled. I think that just made the bond my dad and her share stronger cause they expect the best from all their kids.

My disability is bipolar and schizoaffective disorder which I have been living with over 17 years. I am not one to use these disabilities as an excuse to gain sympathy from others or get special attention.

I was diagnosed with bipolar about the age of five or six. This caused me to be placed into the special education program due to emotional behavior disorder.

Most people describe being bipolar as being on a roller coaster, but I explain it as being stuck in the middle of the ocean. The waves can take you to exhilarating heights of a carefree world or pull you down into the never-ending abyss of despair were the currents leave you with no sense of direction.

My very first psychiatric hospital stay was about age eleven in Augusta Georgia the week of the terrorist attacks known as 9/11. From then to present day I have been hospitalized ten times and arrested once.

Growing up being in special education, I was limited in learning due to our special classes being small and learning at a much slower pace compared to regular students.

There were multiple times that I tried to commit suicide. As a Christian, I was conflicted that God could heal me and it was there I quit my meds all together and had huge amounts of time lost due to having blackouts.

When I was admitted to Laurel-Wood at the age of seventeen I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder where I had a hard time distinguishing fantasy from reality.

Being bipolar and schizoaffective, I heard voices that were probably not there but the emotions were running so high that I tried not to act on them.

A couple of months later my parents called the police to take me away after I started banging my head as hard as I could on my dresser.

My mom told me that as I was being dragged to the police escort I took a swing at my twin.

Afterwards the cop placed me in the back of his car where I started to kick out the window. It was there the cops hogtied me.

Now I have never seen or heard my dad cry, but after being escorted to the ER and tied down to the bed for my safety my dad came to visit. It was not until I realized where I was and could not figure out why, my dad told me that he went to his room and cried.

This is where I was admitted involuntarily to a long-term physiatrist hospital by the name of Devereux were I spent ¾ of my senior year, almost six months.

Luckily my treatment went so well that I was able to get out a week before my graduation, where myself (19) along with my twin and the rest of my class began our lives as adults.

My current cost of attendance for The University of West Georgia as a transfer student is $20,870 and I am currently $12,050 short.

I do not want to apply for any other loans due to the possibility of my SSI being reduced. I cannot let that happen because I have come too far to go backwards.

What I am looking for is an affordable education. I don't want my disabilities to hinder my performance and overall let my parents down. They've come so far with me and I want to make them proud. I cannot do that without an education in college.

I have great expectations of the person I want to be. I want to have a wife that loves me and kids that want to be like daddy. They cannot be like a daddy who's not on his meds, and has no college degree to make him proud. They can be like a daddy with a reason to push his kids to overcome adversity and pursue their dreams whatever they may be.

I also want to help people with the degree that I will receive in Speech Pathology.

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