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Personal Story

What Love Means Now

January 29, 2016
My version of love has changed from the past several years. When I was younger, love to me was an infatuation. When I was in my 20’s, love was lust – yes, there is a difference, but the label of love was used. Now, in my late 30’s, love is completely different than I ever thought possible. It is not trivial. It is not selfish. It...
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When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was in shock. I had no idea about mental illness or mania or psychosis. I had no idea that my brain could be responsible for altering my reality, for making me think certain thoughts, or for making me feel sad when there was no apparent reason. Up until that point, I took reality for granted, as...
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Self-harm is a way of dealing with deep emotional pain. Hurting myself made me feel better when it was the only way I knew how to cope with feelings like anxiety, sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage. It’s an outward expression of inner pain—pain that often has its roots in early life. It may start as an impulsive reaction. It...
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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. During the time after diagnosis I was put on,...
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Twenty-Four

May 13, 2015
When I envisioned myself at 24 I always thought I would be a huge success. I would be on the front page of fortune magazine, I would have a nice car, a nice house, nice family and nice job. I assumed I’d be out of the house and on my own. I’d be working a career I loved and I’d be on pace to making millions. But life isn’t as picture perfect as I...
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Ashley Washington

What does someone with bipolar disorder tend to look like? Are they blonde, have curly hair? Do they talk differently or walk slighter faster than the average person? Much of the time you can't tell by just merely looking at someone's outer appearance.Eleven years ago, at the age of sixteen, I was diagnosed with Manic-Depressive Disorder also...
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Continuing Recovery

March 11, 2015
“Hey, how are you?” Oh man. Yikes. Whoa. Here we go again. I pause and consider my options in response to this question. If you have bipolar or experience any other form of mental illness, you probably understand why this question can be so tricky to answer. Do I answer honestly? Do I lie and say fine? Do I tell them my depression is flaring...
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My Manic Summer

February 27, 2015
The summer of 2013/2014 was magnificent, exhilarating and glorious. It was also a manic summer. I had just come out of one of the darkest winters of my life, where I was hospitalised and everything had ground to a halt for months. Spring came around, and with it hypomania. I was extremely speedy and productive at work, I had countless energy...
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The best part about having bipolar disorder, is knowing you have bipolar disorder. There aren’t any other tangible benefits, but there are definite ways to cope. Even though I had hundreds of friends and thousands online friends, life after my diagnosis was particularly lonely. I had been diagnosed during a depressive state- a very intense...
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('Changes' song lyric sample from David Bowie, album "Hunky Dory" 1971)When the seasons change, I often have a bipolar relapse, one that starts small, like a snowball, gathering speed and size as it rolls down the hill, exploding on the impact of hitting bottom! Boom! On September 24 this fall I had to admit, as anhedonia and thoughts of throwing...
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I didn’t realize it, but I have been on a quest for the past 20 years. At first, it felt like I was just trying to figure myself out. I wasn’t happy with my life as it was laid out for me. So like many people in their late teens and early twenties, I bounced around from place to place, trying on different “personality outfits” to see which...
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Friends

December 23, 2014
“Only solitary men know the full joys of friendship. Others have their family; but to a solitary and an exile his friends are everything." WILLA CATHERI discovered I had bipolar disorder in May 2014. The diagnosis was delivered roughly 12 hours after I had called 911, on a night when I was terrified of my immediate surroundings. I was under the...
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