Jackie Zanfagna’s struggles became evident before her 10th birthday. Some called her a “difficult teen” but her mother, Anne Marie, and her father, Jim, knew that Jackie was struggling with a medical condition and desperately needed treatment. Her parents sought help from countless doctors to no avail. Jackie had bipolar tendencies. When she was at her best, she was a bright, engaged girl who loved animals, fashion, and cared fiercely for her niece and nephew. When she was at her worst, her self-esteem plummeted and she was prone to fits of rage. Her parents were left to patch the walls where her fist had bust the plaster.
Jackie’s suffering went undiagnosed. Anne Marie, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, began noticing that her pain medication was missing and eventually valuables started disappearing too. When the Zanfagna’s realized that they couldn’t trust their daughter or her friends, they changed their locks, installed an alarm system, and got a guard dog.
Jackie survived one overdose but was so deeply ashamed that she pushed away the people who cared about her the most. Somehow, in the midst of what seemed a plummeting spiral, Jackie found some solid ground at the age of 25.