Category: Personal Story

Channeling Feelings Through Art

Channeling Feelings Through Art

Author: Susann Brox Nilsen My mother, who is an artist, taught me early on to draw and to be creative. I drew and wrote stories my whole childhood, my imagination had no end. This gradually stopped during my teenage years though, and for many years I wasn’t...

#BipolarBrave, Today and Always

#BipolarBrave, Today and Always

Author: Violette Kay This World Bipolar Day, I look back at all the ways bipolar disorder has impacted my life, and the variety of these experiences is so vast I don’t know whether I should mourn or celebrate. Bipolar disorder has ruined my life a million times over,...

The Importance of #bipolarbrave for Families

The Importance of #bipolarbrave for Families

Author: RaeAnn Collins Wikipedia defines brave as: “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.” It is an act of bravery to tell others about this disorder. I have had Bipolar Disorder 1 for about 37 years now. Back in my early days, the stigma of...

Standing Up to Low Expectations

Standing Up to Low Expectations

Author: George Hofmann One of the most difficult things about thriving with bipolar disorder is that people don’t expect very much of you. They expect your moods to be inconsistent, and they assume you can’t take care of yourself. I was recovering from a string of...

Hope

Hope

Author: Jacob Gorman This is a story of hope when it looks like there is none: When I was younger, I was a pretty happy go lucky kid. I made a lot of friends and I was pretty outgoing. Things were great for a long time. I had all kinds of plans for my future, and I...

Talking about Bipolar is Bipolar Brave

Talking about Bipolar is Bipolar Brave

Author: Christina Chambers As we celebrate the approaching World Bipolar Day, March’s question is: “what makes you bipolar brave?” I think earlier on in my journey I would have had a hard time answering this question because I carried a lot of shame and a sense of...

Unashamed

Unashamed

Author: Claire Gault I am a server at a senior living center that is home to many interesting people. Among them are a distinguished former president of a university, a resident who claims to have been friends with Rob Zombie, and many eccentric war veterans. One of...

Being Bipolar Brave

Being Bipolar Brave

Author: Willa Goodfellow Oh, I thought I was already, bipolar brave. As a lesbian who came out in my early forties, I understood how this stigma thing works and also how this overcoming of stigma thing works, too. I wasn’t weird or scary. People liked me. When I came...

Mental Illness and the Workplace

Mental Illness and the Workplace

Author: Natalia Beiser   When I resigned my full time job in 2005 due to bipolar depression, I subsequently went on disability.  I spent countless years allowing my bipolar diagnosis to define how I should be treated in the workplace. Prior to going on disability, I...

Reflecting Back on My Initial Diagnosis

Reflecting Back on My Initial Diagnosis

Author: Scott Walker On January 1, 2000, I checked myself into a psychiatric hospital in New Zealand. My Mom, my brother and I had met in NZ to celebrate Christmas with relatives and bring in the new millennium. I was living in Japan at the time and hadn’t seen...

When Reckless Spending Doesn’t Seem All That Reckless

When Reckless Spending Doesn’t Seem All That Reckless

Author: Violette Kay My grandma’s neighbor was the first person with bipolar disorder that I ever met. I was a child- I didn’t really know what bipolar disorder was, much less that I would go on to learn that I had it too. My first encounters with the illness took...

My Small Victories

My Small Victories

Author: Trevor Simonson Living with bipolar disorder can become very tiresome, especially when I am experiencing a depressive episode. Everything becomes difficult, even the menial tasks of everyday life. I do my best to keep a positive attitude even through the dark...

How Stigma In The African American Faith Community Has Impacted Me

How Stigma In The African American Faith Community Has Impacted Me

I have been a “church girl” all of my life and have been shaped by the traditions and cultural importance of the African American church community.  I grew up with a common belief that you can “pray away” illness, but there was a contrast in how physical illness and...

Hallucinations

Hallucinations

By: Greg Walshaw I first experienced psychosis as a child. I would see ghostly apparitions that would show up at night. Not believing in ghosts, I would try to convince myself that they were simply a visual effect from a streetlight, except that they would move around...

The Relief Of An Accurate Diagnosis

The Relief Of An Accurate Diagnosis

By: Natalia Beiser When I was eighteen, I was finishing the last semester of high school and attempting to concentrate on the scenes of a teenager: attending dances, performing in musicals and band, and picking out a prom dress. I knew that something was terribly...

An Alternative Christmas

An Alternative Christmas

By: Sophie Prosolek Christmas is a time of festive joy, of giving and receiving – ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’, or so the song goes. But several years ago I decided to make a change to the way I celebrate Christmas – I decided to...

Holding on to Hope

Holding on to Hope

By: Thea Madeline Porter I grew up in a typical middle class neighborhood in southern California. During my childhood I enjoyed being creative, playing sports, taking Irish dancing, listening to music, watching movies and hanging out with friends and family. I was...

Vigilance

Vigilance

By: Malcolm Kerec A few weeks ago, I had a sharp reminder of how looking after my mental health is a constant battle and that staying well is not a set-and-forget task. After years of relative stability, it’s all too easy to take good mental health for granted....

The Weight Gain Roller Coaster

The Weight Gain Roller Coaster

By: Ivory Smith Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had a big meal only to feel hungry 2 hours later? Do you eat that 4th meal of the day at 3:00 am at night standing in the kitchen? Have you watched your clothes get tight and hope that it is because the dryer that...

University and Accessibility

University and Accessibility

By: Greg Walshaw I was finishing my first year of a Master’s program when things started to change. The first time I stayed up all night to work on a paper, I thought nothing of it: the paper had to get done, and this was the cost of getting it done. I remember...

Where’s My Lasagna?

Where’s My Lasagna?

By: Natalia Beiser When one is undergoing mental health treatment, it often feels as if no one cares. It is rare that one will receive a greeting card or flowers, nor a covered dish when arriving home from the hospital. In my experience, most are standoffish....

Supporting a Friend in a Bipolar Depressive Episode

Supporting a Friend in a Bipolar Depressive Episode

By: Allan G. Cooper When I am experiencing a Depressive Episode it feels like I am walking in a dark haze of sadness and fatigue. My limbs feel like they are twice as heavy and it takes a tremendous amount of will power to complete the simplest of tasks. Social...

Self-Discovery: Looking Back on My Diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder

Self-Discovery: Looking Back on My Diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder

By: Cassandra Stout Trigger warning: This post contains a brief mention of suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or refer to our list of International...

My Childhood with Bipolar Disorder

My Childhood with Bipolar Disorder

By: Natalia Beiser My mother knew at an early age that I suffered from depression. What she did not know was what to do about it. My remembrance of the 1970’s is that no one discussed mental health unless an acquaintance went to the state hospital. Then it was...

Hyde & Hyde…. no Jekkyll

Hyde & Hyde…. no Jekkyll

By: Laura Sanscartier From the time I was a little girl, I have always had horrible thoughts. Thoughts of hurting people, thoughts of people dying. Thoughts of car crashes and horrible accidents around the house. I always thought that I was just a strange person, and...

Managing Postpartum Depression

Managing Postpartum Depression

By: Liz Wilson My children were born 6 years apart. My son and daughter are two very different children with two very different mothers; who happened to be in the same body. That is largely because of my changing attitude toward education and self-advocacy. Thomas was...

Accepting My Diagnosis

Accepting My Diagnosis

By: Sydney Batt I felt slightly relieved the day I was diagnosed with having bipolar disorder– it felt good to have an explanation for my actions, however the days to come were very difficult. I was very emotional the first couple months after my...

Is It My Bipolar… Or Just Being a Jerk?

Is It My Bipolar… Or Just Being a Jerk?

By: Paul Carey (The short story of a bipolar professional and a personal jerk) Sometimes the line between bipolar and jerk isn’t as transparent as I’d like it to be. To be clear, they are not one in the same. Bipolar is a non-optional mental illness. Being a jerk is a...

My Catch-22 with Medication

My Catch-22 with Medication

By: Natalia Beiser Most days I feel grateful and blessed. I have a good life. I have friends and people that love me. I am employed part time, even with chronic mental illness. I have a home, and even two great cats. My car is almost paid off. I have much of the...

Ward 19 North

Ward 19 North

By: Sasha Kildare My biggest claim to fame is that I had the same dance teacher as JLo. Actually, I have an even bigger claim to fame. But it is not something that you brag about. At the age of 26, I was on my sixth college major, journalism. Summer vacation arrived....

Positive Impact of Therapy

Positive Impact of Therapy

By: Sydney Batt When I was younger, I had been to a few sessions of therapy but had never committed to it until three years ago, when I decided to take my mental health seriously. Going to therapy for the first time can be scary or awkward for some, and having to...

Hold On

Hold On

By: Laura Sanscartier (Trigger warning for sexual assault) There’s a song by Sarah MacLachlan called “Hold On”. The first line is “Hold on, hold on to yourself, for this is gonna hurt like hell.” I often think of it when it comes to hard...

Bipolar Depression vs. Situational Depression

Bipolar Depression vs. Situational Depression

By: Allan G. Cooper If you have 2 broken legs, climbing a hill would be extremely difficult. Even if you were a motivated person with an exceptional level of discipline, the physical damage to your legs would prevent you from making any progress. Bipolar Depressive...

Becoming a Psychologist with Bipolar II Disorder

Becoming a Psychologist with Bipolar II Disorder

By: Lauren Yang Springtime tends to make me reflective on the transitions I’ve had in life. I’ll notice how time has passed when I see high school graduation photos and hear about acceptances into graduate or professional school programs. While friends were moving...

How Managing My Nutrition Improved my Mental Health

How Managing My Nutrition Improved my Mental Health

By: Sydney Batt After three months of my diagnosis of having Bipolar II disorder I decided to join a group therapy that was specifically for people that have mood disorders. In the first session of this therapy we learned the importance of nutrition and diet. I was...

Life After Psychosis

Life After Psychosis

By: Allan G. Cooper Do you know what it feels like to help NASA calculate the speed of light? Or, maybe you know what it’s like to find a formula that makes nuclear fusion possible. How about being the sole person responsible for averting a disaster that would...

When It Rains…

When It Rains…

By: Laura Sanscartier …it pours. Or at least it does in my case.  I bet it does in a lot of cases out there. I wish I could meet each and every one of you and give you the biggest hug. What am I talking about? Multiple diagnoses, often called comorbidities....

Wellness & My Mood Disorder

Wellness & My Mood Disorder

By: Liz Wilson “Mindfully focusing on wellness in our lives builds resilience and enables us to thrive amidst life’s challenges.” National Wellness Institute Wellness is a relatively new construct that encompasses our level of connectedness to the world around us. It...

The Power of Peer Support

The Power of Peer Support

By: Allan G. Cooper “Psychiatrists can tell you about the ocean by reading about it and seeing it in their practice but we know what it’s like to be in the water”. This is how my co-worker Ray explains peer support. We work for an agency called OBAD, the...

Managing School While Feeling Depressed or Manic

Managing School While Feeling Depressed or Manic

By: Sydney Batt Students living with Bipolar disorder have challenges not many people see or understand. Features of bipolar disorder make it tough to thrive in school, so it may feel like a lonely battle in the classroom. School stressors can contribute to triggering...

Maintaining My Mental Illness Is A Lifestyle

Maintaining My Mental Illness Is A Lifestyle

By: Andrienne Kennedy If someone had asked me five years ago how do I manage a mental illness, I would have not been able to give an answer. For years, I was uneducated about mental illnesses or mental health all together. That changed back in 2014 when I was...

Working Toward Mental Wellness

Working Toward Mental Wellness

By: Tosha Maaks Remaining balanced when you live life with bipolar disorder isn’t some magical trick and it isn’t some tricky formula that only those who have super powers have figured out. However, stability I can say is a magical place to be after years of living in...

Letter To An Old Friend

Letter To An Old Friend

By: Natalia Beiser Dear Chad, In the early 1990’s, we were such good friends. Outside of my family, I have never cherished anyone more. You supported me through a chilling hypomania and a catastrophic mania. You watched me deteriorate during medication trials and...

The Masks We Wear: Being Honest About Our Feelings

By: Conor Bezane I feel a lot of pressure. Pressure to take my meds and stay on them. Pressure to be a good son, brother, and uncle. Pressure to be a man. Pressure to conform and lead a healthy, happy life. It’s tough, but I’ve learned to maintain composure and grace...

Why I Stay

Why I Stay

By: Laura Sanscartier In the throes of my bipolar depression and psychosis, all I wanted to do was die. This has happened multiple times in my life. I have attempted suicide multiple times. I was sure that the only way to relieve the stress on my spouse and family was...

Wife, Mother, And Survivor

Wife, Mother, And Survivor

By: Tosha Maaks I am a lucky suicide survivor. In 2008 I tried to end my life after a hard day at my job. I came home, and I said good-bye to my children, and I climbed into bed to snuggle with my middle child and say my good-byes to him. My husband knew something...

It’s Cool To Be Kind

It’s Cool To Be Kind

By: Andrienne Kennedy “As you get older, you will discover that you have two hands.  One for helping yourself, one for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn Last year was a pivotal year for me. I was 39, and really started thinking about my 40th birthday which would...

What Do You Mean It’s Forever?

What Do You Mean It’s Forever?

By: Laura Sanscartier I am 37 years old.  I have battled symptoms of bipolar disorder since I was a child, and was diagnosed when I was in my early 20s.  Essentially, I have endured and tried to “fix” this disease, even cure it, for 30 years. I have gone to many,...

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