Something I am Proud Of:

I was diagnosed with Bipolar I at the age of 18 following six years of inexplicable behaviours, emotional dysregulation, and suicidal ideation. In my final year of high school, I dropped five courses, and the future I had always dreamed for myself seemed impossible. I was hospitalized twice and had medications changed six times within the year of transition from high school to post secondary.

But in the chaos that ensued throughout that year, I found a determination to help others get to their graduation day, no matter the path it takes to get there. With the inspiration of the individual who helped me through those years, I realized that perhaps there was a future for me after all, and began to pursue an education in child and youth care.

In what I had gone into thinking was little more than a fallback plan, with little hopes of getting anywhere, I found a place in which I could excel. Knowing that keeping busy is essential to me maintaining stability, I was able to compete with two varsity teams and work as the vice president for my college’s student council while completing my first year.

I was terrified to move to a new community and away from the people who had helped me through the toughest times. But I quickly realized that those people were only a phone call away, and that there was a whole new group of people ready to fill in those missing pieces in my new home.

I have been incredibly fortunate for the opportunities that have arisen from what I thought was a dead end. My experiences have led me to appreciate every little thing that comes my way, because I’ve come to realize just how quickly everything can change. Without the challenges of life, there is little room for growth. I am endlessly thankful for how much growth I have been granted.

Message for Newly Diagnosed:

Be honest with yourself. Know that you are learning. Accept that you don’t have it all figured out. Nobody becomes Isaac Newton after their first physics lesson – you’re not going to know everything on day one.

But nobody gains mastery of a subject by waiting around and hoping things will get to where they need to be. You need to put in the work to see the results, and the results will come.

In being honest with yourself, your limitations, and where you are at, there is always a starting point to a treatment plan. Trust that everyone has your best interest at heart, and be open to trying new things.

Remember that for every setback, there comes growth. And when you look back on how far you’ve come, you’ll realize that your story is just what someone else may need to find hope in their new journey.

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