Last Saturday, WMC Action News 5 reports, a woman's body was discovered in a dry creek bed near a Tennessee home.

Police identified her as Teresa Carlson, an aspiring Nashville songwriter.

In the wake of her death, Carlson's family has come forward to shed light on her personal struggles in hopes of helping others whose loved ones might be going through the same battle with their health.

Carlson, who was “always so perky and in a good mood,” was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 15 years ago.

The Mayo Clinic describes the long-term condition as one with extreme mood swings:

“Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy.”

Carlson was determined not to let her diagnosis control her, continuing to pursue her dreams.

Her sister-in-law, Jessica Kulsrud, tells News 5:

“She was talented, she did pageants, she got her teaching degree, she got her masters degree in storytelling.”

But, Carlson was also “prideful,” Kulsrud said. Believing she could control her disorder on her own, Carlson would often stop taking her medication. In the past seven years, Kulsrud explains Carlson's health and well-being had taken a dramatic turn for the worse and that Carlson was homeless for the last month of her life:

“She would have these times where she wouldn't take her medicine and she wouldn't eat properly or take care of herself properly... She has been a revolving door through the system, for seven years its been really bad.”

Kulsrud says, “It's just really sad to see someone so talented and gifted and we don't want her to be defined by her illness because she had so much more to her than that. We all are just gonna miss her very much, she was a beautiful soul.”

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