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Bipolar Disorder

Cheyenne Benwarisingh

This essay tied for third place in our High School Essay Contest this year. I live in Jamaica, a country rich with diverse ethnicities, personalities, and beliefs. As unique as the people of my country are, we all have one commonality, and that is the stigmatization of persons with mental disorders. Very rarely will you hear a...
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Amadea Smith

This essay tied for third place in our High School Essay Contest this year. At my high school, it is not uncommon to hear put-downs in the hallways - “He’s just trying to get attention,” “She's so bipolar.” These kinds of naive comments about mental illness are just as ubiquitous as a wad of gum under a chair. Sixty million people...
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This is the third in a series of 26 posts covering a variety of stress management tools and techniques, starting with the letter A. For some background information on stress and bipolar disorder, the blogger recommends reading her three-part series, “Getting a Handle on Stress When You Have Bipolar Disorder,” starting with the first one. ...
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Everyone I have ever talked to within the mental health community has an acute awareness of the social stigma of their condition. They could jeopardize their career, could lose their friendships, or even have their family torn away from them. We are all aware that people look at us differently, fail to trust us with important tasks, or even skip...
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Thankfully I normally get to sleep very quickly. However, about a month ago it took me a VERY long time to get to sleep. I had a bunch of ideas swirling in my head and my mind kept firing off new ones. They were exciting ideas about a variety of things: a fundraising hike for the International Bipolar Foundation that friends and I are planning,...
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I remember what it was like hitting rock bottom. I hit it hard. I had checked myself into the psych ward twice and was dealing with a dull, achy feeling. Whoo boy, was that hard! Thankfully, I had and still have God, my husband, and mom on my side. I also found the right combination of medications and saw a therapist. It took a few years, but it...
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Sometimes the hardest part about being married to someone with bipolar disorder is trying to reconcile the actions of the illness from the actions of the person. When you live with someone long enough you get to know them pretty well.  You become comfortable with their habits (good and bad), their moods, and their daily routines. More...
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I consider mania to be the forgotten orphan of the two poles of bipolar disorder – with depression being the most discussed. Depression gets all the attention, all the talk, all the focus and mania is left out in the cold. On the International Bipolar Foundation’s (IBPF) website, the IBPF’s bloggers have written 77 articles about depression and...
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Warning Signs

April 6, 2016
It’s so important with a mental illness to be vigilant of errant emotions because it could be a warning sign of the start of an episode. This has happened only a few times since I’ve been stable on medication.  The first time was during the summer a couple of years ago. I’m a teacher so I have the summers off. That year I didn’t get a summer...
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I decided to be open about my bipolar disorder over two years ago. I expected that there would be some stigma, but what I didn’t expect or prepare for was the hidden stigma. The kind of stigma that isn’t immediately obvious until you reflect upon it. One of these hidden stigmas is people using my bipolar as an excuse or cop-out, either for their...
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I Am Much More Than That

March 25, 2016
When I facilitate groups, I ask people to say their name, something about themselves unrelated to their mental health disorder and, “And I’m more than that.” Inevitably, a person says something like, “Hi. I’m John. I’m bipolar, and I’m not much more than that.” I’m always sad when this happens because none of us should be defined by our mental...
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There were a lot of warning signs that I had a mental illness, long before my first diagnosis. My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was a child. I would have massive mood swings and extremely violent temper tantrums that often resulted in the destroying of objects or attempts to physically injure someone. This resulted in...
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