George Kotwitz's Story
I am 67 years old, and I have been married for 43 years to the most wonderful
woman in the world. I have created a living hell for her during my illness
but she has stuck by my side. We have three daughters and four grandsons.
I am a graduate of Southern Nazarene University, and had a very successful
insurance career for 25 years. I have bipolar disorder, and the mania drove
me to the top in my career but almost destroyed me along the way. I hit
a downward spiral and lost everything except my family. I was hospitalized
nine times during the first 10 years of my illness and was unable to work
for 16 years.
I previously had a very strong work ethic but felt I could not give an
employer 100 percent, as I was unable to concentrate and went through periods
of being unable to understand what I was reading. I lost all confidence
in my ability to provide financially for my family, and I learned I could
not meet other people's expectations.
Finally, I attended several national mental health conferences and learned
that others were able to overcome their illness. I started speaking openly
about my illness on both a local and national level, and I serve on two
national boards and belong to two national speakers' bureaus.
The empowerment of these activities helped me to go back to work after
15 years on a part-time basis. That position ended as a full-time person
replaced me, and once again I wondered if I could ever work again. I
decided to give it my best and have not looked back.
I have been able to start my own business and am working again full time.
I am once again experiencing success in a field I was not trained for,
and I am gaining back my confidence on a daily basis. I am exceeding all
my own financial expectations. God has chosen to allow me a second chance,
for which I am very grateful.