Something I am Proud Of:

I’m extremely proud of myself for finally being able to accept my diagnosis and no longer feeling like it is something I need to hide. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder in late 2019, and was in denial until about a year later.  I was on and off my medication, I was lashing out at family and friends, I couldn’t keep a job, I was in and out of psychiatric facilities, because I did not want to accept that having bipolar disorder was now a part of my life, and something that I could not handle on my own. It took me a while, but I’ve developed a great relationship with my therapists, I am on medication that works for me, I am able to function in society healthily, and I am okay with my diagnosis. I accept that this is something that I must have control over in order to be successful in my daily life, as well as my future. And now that I’ve found acceptance, I am able to share my experiences, give advice and encourage others. I feel there is power in shared experiences, and knowing that you’re not alone. Finding commonality in hardships can save lives, and I’m proud to have become an advocate for the mental health community. It’s terrifying to share something this vulnerable, as well as something that is viewed as a “mental illness.” However, I’m also the most proud of myself when I share anything that can help another person that is going through something that I’ve been through, because it is always well received, and I feel as though I make a difference in those moments. 

Advice for Newly Diagnosed:

Having a healthy and open book relationship with your therapist and/or psychiatrist is a key to your mental health success! Medical professionals that listen to you, give you great advice, and prioritize your needs is essential. To me, it is so important to cultivate that bond between yourself and your mental health professionals, because it will make you more knowledgeable and comfortable with your diagnosis, and you will be able to trust them enough to allow them to give you the tools you need for a successful and healthy lifestyle. Along with developing a trustful bond with your therapists, I also advise you to implement self-care activities in your life! Anything from partaking in guided meditations, hiking, healthy food choices, and reading, to spa days, taking a well deserved nap, dancing to music, or having a brunch date, fall under the umbrella of “self-care.” As long as it’s not over-indulgent, I think the small, pleasurable activities we can afford and find time to do, can be an integral part of our mental health journey and overall happiness.
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