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My Path to Acceptance

I keep hearing the word acceptance when it comes to living with bipolar. But what exactly does it mean to me? 

A doctor once told me acceptance means acknowledging a fact, but not necessarily being “ok” with it. I was uncertain so I looked it up. 

Living with Bipolar Disorder, Acceptance Goes A Long Way

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was young, fifteen or sixteen years old, but before that I had been seen by doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists for depression. I think ‘manic’ stages were assumed to be me being a ‘normal’ kid: happy, productive, and full of life and energy. 

Relief & Denial - My First Two Steps

At the age of 16, I was in a serious car accident and suffered a concussion. Within two weeks after the accident, something about me was different.

Step 1: Relief
At the age of 27, during my first psychiatric hospitalization, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  I remember feeling the biggest sense of relief and thinking to myself, "Finally! Now there's an answer to that question I have asked myself over and over for the last 10 years--WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME?"

Embracing Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder has been such a shameful and an incredibly misunderstood place for me. Full of false guilt, embarrassment and regret. Confusion, anger and sadness. And plenty of hurt. Until three weeks ago, it’s been my dark little secret for almost eleven years.