On paper, Kelly Rentzel’s life has been a ruby-slippered trip down the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City. She was Salutatorian of her class at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, and a National Merit Scholar. After graduating with honors and a double major from Rice University, she was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the Dedman School of Law at SMU; there, she won the 1L “Best Brief Award,” served on the staff of the SMU Law Review, and graduated with honors. She began her 15-year legal career at Baker Botts LLP and later spent six years as a federal court staff attorney. Five years ago, she began working at one of Texas's largest banks; she now serves as its general counsel. Best of all, she is the mother of a bright and beautiful eight-year-old daughter.
While at Rice, Kelly had a spontaneous major manic episode and spent a month in a psychiatric facility. (She withdrew from all of her courses as a first-semester senior, but returned for the next semester and graduated with her class.) She was diagnosed with Bipolar I.
Fourteen years later, while working at the courthouse, she had severe postpartum depression that failed to resolve and, after two years, bottomed out into severe clinical depression. Following a suicide attempt, Kelly received life-saving shock treatment. Three months later, she began working at the bank. She remains on a steady regimen of medication and talk therapy and has been blessed with five years of remission.
Kelly views herself as fortunate to have received her diagnosis in such an undeniable way so early in her life. She does not feel responsible or ashamed of it, and it has served as a roadmap rather than a roadblock. Through this website, she hopes to help others accept, understand, and use their own diagnoses to improve their lives.