Learn more about #DearTeenageMe at http://sayitforwardcampaign.org/
Do you remember the song “Sound of Silence”? The one we used to sing with Dad? Remember how we always thought it was about being quiet and not making any noise no matter what we were feeling? That’s why I’m here, to break the silence.
We have a mental illness called bipolar disorder. Because of it, you’re going to be facing some interesting events in your life. Some will be painful and some will break your heart on a level that is unimaginable right now. But I also want to tell you about some things to give you hope. And the best part is there will be hands to guide you along the way, so you will not be alone.
You don’t know what bipolar disorder is, but you’re already starting to feel it. You know that squeezing you’ve been feeling in your chest from time to time? How sometimes you feel so sick to your stomach that you’re afraid to eat? What about when you feel so exhausted after a full night of sleep, but felt that you were barely able to move?
Then there are those moments when you want to just break down into tears. There is no reason for it, but you just cry. It is a cry that comes from emotional pain deep inside of you. But with bipolar disorder, you get a 2-for-1 special. If the depression isn’t hard enough to go through, think about how your thoughts are just continuously racing. You know how you feel when your thoughts are racing, and sometimes they snap a range of ideas into your head that may be hard for others to understand.
It’s here, in these teenage years, when you will begin to break through the silence. You’ll start seeing psychologists, some good, and some not so good. As life drags you down the currents, you’ll see a therapist. He or she will talk to you for hours about your life. Sometimes, it won’t feel like it is helping, but eventually you will find the right one.
The first time you’ll know you have bipolar disorder is after you’ve been admitted into an in-patient psychiatric ward. While you are there, you’ll meet a wonderful psychiatrist. You’ll talk a lot about why you are there and what you have been through. He will become your outpatient psychiatrist as well. Between him and a new therapist you’ll meet shortly after, you will finally receive your diagnoses.
Fortunately, with their help, you will be introduced to a Day Rehabilitation Program for individuals with mental illnesses. It will be awkward and scary at first. In time, you will learn the skills you need to cope with the symptoms of your illness, improve your self-esteem, and control your impulses. You will learn how to be more social and all in all, it will help you become a stronger person.
But, try to hold on to this. Even though you still have a hard road ahead of you, know that you are going to get through it. When you find out you have bipolar disorder, it won’t be the end of the world. If anything, it will eventually lead to avenues in your life that you have yet to dream of. It will help define who you want to be. You’ll grow strong in heart and develop faith in yourself. You will also learn to advocate for yourself and others. Finally, you will learn to love yourself, because you are pretty awesome. A love for teaching will develop within you as well as a desire to help others similar to yourself. All of this will happen because you have bipolar disorder.
Yes, it’s going to be a hard, painful walk. But, you’ll be okay.
I’ll see you when you get here, kid.
Read more from Jae here.