Author: Lesly Garcia
I want to remind others that there are millions of us with bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed in 2019, at the age of 22 when I had my first episode. I think part of me knew a long time ago that I was bipolar. But I didn’t know what bipolar disorder was. I didn’t know the symptoms, and I’m still not sure about all the symptoms or if all of them even relate to how I feel or what I’m going through. I was in a mental hospital at the end of June, and it was a healing and eye-opening experience for me. It was very difficult for me to accept help and try to understand where I was at.
I live in the United States and I try to remember to utilize all the resources I have here that are available and remind myself that it is okay to need extra help and ask for help. I know there are a lot of stigmas surrounding this that might make this appear as weakness, but I feel empowered when seeking help, and I ultimately feel more relaxed when I take care of myself.
I view bipolar disorder as a mysterious enigma, a new journey that not everyone will have, which is okay. I take it day by day and appreciate the little victories I have when I remember that being bipolar doesn’t define me, or anyone for that matter. I am more than my bipolar disorder, I am a person, I am a human and I feel like that’s where I want people to relate with me. I want to try and ignore the other differences for a moment. None of us are alone in this world, and that’s very important to remind myself and others.
I am half white and half Honduran, and although I don’t know everything about my blended family culture, I know that I have a very supportive connection with my family. Family is very important to me and it doesn’t have to be rooted in blood. I have plenty of family and friends that I don’t share blood with, but that I share a heart-to-heart connection with. My two dogs and cats are my family too.
I work two different part time jobs – one as a retail associate – and the other as a behavior therapist. It may not seem like a hobby, but I love helping others in my spare time or whenever I get the chance to. Other than that, I also love to play video games, crochet, listen to music, writing, or whatever I feel like doing for that day. It’s hard for me to pick just one thing I enjoy doing, because there are so many exciting and fulfilling things to do in life.
I haven’t been a huge advocate for mental health, not because I don’t want to but because I just don’t feel ready to do so. I’ve been struggling with my own mental health problems for a long time, and I feel like it’s difficult to try and do more when I need to take care of myself first right now. This feels like the most I’ve done as far as advocacy and I hope it helps someone out there. Even if it’s just one person, then I feel like I’ve done something right.