Something I Am Proud Of:
I developed bipolar disorder halfway through college. This made the second half of college much more challenging. I took several semesters off. Imagine trying to take classes while depression drains you of motivation, energy, and ability to concentrate! Imagine trying to study for exams while mania deprives you of sleep, the ability to focus on school tasks, and rational thinking. Despite being convinced over and over that I would not manage to graduate, I did!
Advice For Newly Diagnosed:
Don’t wait until you reach “rock bottom” in order to seek help! Mental health is SO important and should not be ignored. It is much better to catch episodes early (identify red flags and early indicators of impending manic/depressive/mixed episodes) and seek help immediately. This leads to a shorter recovery time. It is much easier to establish care while euthymic/at baseline, not in the middle of a mood episode. Also, create a plan ahead of time for emergencies (e.g., patient safety plan, what to do if need to go to Psych ER, who to contact in the event of a crisis).