Bipolar Story Shared August 28, 2014

I have a personal vested interest in helping others with mental illness because of my own struggles and triumphs. I would love for others to be inspired by my story or someone else’s who has risen above the stigma and the grasp mental illness used to have on me and my life.

I was officially diagnosed over two years ago, after several years of misdiagnosis and then some denial on my part. Then I met a psychiatrist who changed my life. Not because I was really unwell, I was well when I met him but his outlook on mental illness and wellness, well he gave me hope. Hope that my diagnosis wasn’t fatal. Hope that my condition was treatable. Hope that the stigma wouldn’t be there with the people who knew me and cared to learn more about what had taken over my body years before. Hope that he would be there for me and he cared about me and my wellness. Hope that I could live my life healthy and stay well. He gave me hope to carry on and move forward. I am not my illness. It does not control me and my life. It is a characteristic of what makes me who I am.

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, girlfriend, employee; I am a person just like you. I have maintained my health since seeing him and I decided on the best treatment plan; a low dose medication, self-monitoring and the support of my treatment team, family and friends. I am happy. I am in love, with myself and my partner. It took years to forgive myself and realize that the illness played with my brain and I was not at fault. I did not know what was happening and I can’t be blamed. Some have adopted my mentality and stood by me; my diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not my fault. I am responsible when it comes to self-monitoring and I reach out to others if I notice change.

Anyone can get well if they really want to—it takes a great medical team as well as supports in your family and friends and most importantly, you have to believe in yourself. I hope my story gives others hope… hope that you can and will be well. Sure, the diagnosis never goes away but neither do the other conditions I have lived with all my life. They don’t interfere with my life. I will not ever let Bipolar Disorder own me. It is not who I am. It is just a small part of me and it’s treatable, much like my allergies or IBS. I am in control and I will not hand over the reins to my illness willingly. I will fight. Every day. Whoever is reading this—FIGHT!! You can be as well and happy as I am with work, dedication, and a team of professionals like my team. Don’t ever give up!!