Ashley

Advice to Newly Diagnosed:

Diagnosis does not mean ruination. Your diagnosis can feel like it’s taking over the trajectory of your life, but you are the creator of your path, and acceptance will come with time. I wholeheartedly believe that knowledge is power. One of the more effective ways to try and understand diagnosis is immersing yourself in factual information. If I can give one solid piece of advice to someone who is newly diagnosed, take a trip to the bookstore or library and read. Read books about recovery, Bipolar Disorder, neuroscience, genetics, and memoirs. You may find the answers you need on your own time to help your recovery journey and also feel relief and understanding that many others have been here before too.

 

Something I am Proud Of:

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder back in 2016, following a manic episode that almost ended my marriage. Then, a major depressive episode hit to the point where I couldn’t even get myself out of bed long enough to take care of my two children. I found myself on the cusp of losing everything. My husband, my kids and my life.

My parents always thought I was bipolar from the age of 13, but back in 2003 no one wanted to believe that a young girl could be so (as they put it) “crazy”. Stigma played a major role in occluding me from the help I deserved. I was in-and-out of therapy trials my young adult life, but every therapist said the same thing, “She’s fine, just a teenage girl.” Well this hypomanic “teenage girl” got pregnant at 19 and had to drop out of college, while still battling her inner demons at every step. I gave birth to my second son a few short years after, triggering depressive episodes and led me to seek help from my primary care physician. He prescribed me a medication that led to my mental decline and sparked the manic episode. But it lead me to find the physician I still see to this day. If this journey has taught me anything, it’s that recovery is no straight path.

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