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 never thought I’d end up where I am… at least where I was. Because I was in a bad place for a very long time.

But that doesn’t mean my life or yours is any less valuable just because it’s not what you thought it would be.

In eighth grade, I started to notice things about myself. I noticed things were getting darker. The world was getting scarier and stranger. I didn’t know what to do. I was on a sinking ship without a life raft. I was terrified, truly.

What was I supposed to do?

The world I had literally grown to know had basically fallen out from under me. I was in a free fall. On top of being in the fall, I started to wonder, ”Maybe I belong at the bottom?”. This was when my friends at the time started to see how much I was isolating and saying explicitly harmful thoughts about myself so I was referred to the school counselor but it would be years before I received adequate treatment. 

I went through most of high school with an eating disorder and unchecked mental illness. I never knew what I was going to wake up feeling. It was an absolute whirlwind. I was struggling. But I had to put a smile on and pretend to be fine.

As most of you know this only works for so long. And I broke down. I absolutely crashed. My primary care doctor caught me and we decided I needed to go into an inpatient mental health facility. I spent 19 days in an acute adolescent ward.

I got out after those 19 days and I felt better than ever. I felt like I was on top of the world. Nothing could stop me or at least that’s what I thought I felt. Again, I crashed. I fell down. So low that I tried to take my own life.

Up and down and over and sideways, I was on an emotional rollercoaster through life. When I got my diagnoses I had so much built up stigma in my own head that I was terrified to tell anybody, especially my parents.But I realized something important during this time. I needed to accept myself and my diagnosis.

I’m in therapy twice a week. I see a psychiatrist and I take my medication every day. I’ve reconnected with old friends and formed a better relationship with my parents. I’ve been transparent about what’s going on and they’ve accepted me.

At the end of the day am I perfect? Well, no of course not. There’s still a long way to go for me. And some of you may feel that way too or that there’s no hope, period. But just know that you always have someone who loves you. You may not see it but it’s true. You are not broken. No matter what you think now, you are stronger than you know. You can be #bipolarbrave and make it through the dark.

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