In this health video learn how to cope with teenage depression.
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Female Speaker: There was a time when Marley Prunty Lara involved herself in the normal, day-to-day activities of a teenager. She spent time with friends, did very well in school and was a star in the debate team. But out of the blue, this healthy teenager's life would change dramatically. Marley Prunty-Lara: At first we didn't know what was happening to me and I would have these severe panic attacks where I would be really nauseous and I would be pale and, you know, lose control of my thoughts and I would shake you know violently. Female Speaker: Marley's mom Robin recalls the difficult time Marley experienced. Robin Prunty: She had physical problems and we had all those checked out, she was fine. Her grades were going down and she basically missed a lot of school and for her that was a total change. Marley Prunty-Lara: My first episode was an episode of depression and I went through feeling really low and fatigued and really empty and depression isn't necessarily feeling sad, for me anyway, its more of a feeling of just not feeling and a feeling of numbness. I went from that to feeling very manic and like I had all these things to do and you know, that there wasn't enough time in the day and I would not sleep for 3 or 4 days at a time. And the need for help progressed when I wasn't able to go to school, I couldn't focus, you know, I was really failing at school Robin Prunty: So when Marley told me that, Mom I don't I'm a failure, and I don't know why I am living, that was the day that I started calling Bethesda and everywhere. Female Speaker: Finally, the answer came when doctors gave Marley their results. Marley Prunty-Lara: I was diagnosed with Bipolar when I was 15 years old. You know when I was first diagnosed it was really sort of a relief, oh there's a name for what I am feeling, this is tangible, this is real. Female Speaker: Dr. Paul Gluck is an obstetrician-gynecologist who has been working for years on the issue of screening women for mental illness. Dr. Paul Gluck: Bipolar disorder describes a condition where a woman has very highs, a lot of highs where they are just too gregarious and they overreact in a positive way that we would think is very happy, and then they have a lot of lows and they are just down and they have very little time they spend sort of in the middle where you would say you are normal and interacting in an appropriate normal way. Female Speaker: Treating bipolar disorder includes a number of elements. Marley Prunty-Lara: I take medication everyday as part of my treatment as well as going to talk therapy every other week. So I have a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Female Speaker: For Marley's family, worrying about the huge medical bills was an added burden. Marley Prunty-Lara: Unfortunately our insurance didn't cover that treatment so my family was forced to take a second mortgage out on our home, which, you know, luckily we were able to do because a lot of families don't have that option. Female Speaker: This first hand lesson in the cost of mental health coverage has stayed with Marley. Today this 19-year-old has taken her experiences and turned them into her life's passion. Marley Prunty-Lara: I know what it's like to struggle every day with the ravages of mental illness. Female Speaker: Her mission is to fight for mental illness health coverage for those who need it. Marley's ambition to achieve equality for people with mental illness eventually led her to Washington DC. Marley Prunty-Lara: We have a moral obligation to our citizens. Really this comes down to improving the lives of people and families and saving lives. Female Speaker: Marley is taking action to help pass a bill called Mental Illness Health Parity. It's a piece of legislation that's been debated for more than a decade. It would require health insurance companies to provide coverage for mental illness in the same way they cover physical illness. Ralph Ibson represents The National Mental Health Association. This non-profit