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.
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I have bipolar 1 disorder with mixed episodes. I’m having a resting day again and I’m trying not to feel guilty about it. My preschooler is with a friend and my husband took off work.
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?"
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.