I'm a 44-year old single mom with, HIV, bipolar, and learning disabilities (ADHD and Dyslexia). I've started college for the first time. This is my journey in parenting, HIV, managing mental health, and getting my college education.
I found out I had HIV in 2012. I was pregnant with my 5th and final child, he was born HIV free. I'm doing really well, but I struggle with severe fatigue, chronic pain, and a few other fun side effects. My most profound struggle with my HIV diagnoses has been with self-stigma, and it's taken a very long time to get to a mentally healthy place regarding my status and my health.
I have 5 kids. My two older children are 23 and 20, they are off doing their own things. I have the 3 younger kids that are with me full-time. My 13-year-old has high functioning autism, and he's totally awesome. My daughter is 10 soon to be 11, she's brilliant. Then there is my 5-year-old, he is so cool, and he's funny. My 13-year-old and 11-year-old's dad committed suicide earlier this year.
Mental illness is something that I've dealt with most of my life. But in 2016, just 4 years after I got diagnosed with HIV, I hit rock bottom. I spent a couple weeks in the hospital and got diagnosed with Bipolar. My life is entirely different now, but I was completely out of control for years. I was destructive, I ruined relationships with friends and family, I was out of control compulsive, and I didn't take my medication regularly. I couldn't manage money, life, I barely managed as an adult. You can only imagine what kind of mom I was. Not a very good one. It's been two years now, and I'm mending relationships, I'm starting over as a mom, I'm managing my home and my health. And, I'm going to school.
Why Kara Brett wants to be part of A Girl Like Me: I want to be part of A Girl Like Me because I have a story to tell and a journey in progress that I want to share. I know there are women out there like me and I want to encourage them, make them laugh, and let them know they aren't alone.