Something I am Proud Of:

I was diagnosed with panic disorder and OCD at 6 years old – I had near-daily panic attacks and was self-harming. My mood issues started when I was 10, but most doctors were reluctant to diagnose a preteen/teenager with Bipolar. Fast forward to my rock bottom: stealing from my parents, racking up credit card debt; dropping out of college: I knew I was losing control, so I made a hard choice. I had myself voluntarily committed to an inpatient hospital at age 21. I stayed for 4 nights, and with 24-hour observation, was finally correctly diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Rapid-Cycling. I have been stable ever since, and February 13th, 2022 is my 10-year anniversary of making this life changing decision to seek stability!

Advice for Newly Diagnosed:

Give yourself adequate time to grieve this life-changing diagnosis. Treat yourself gently and remember that pinpointing a diagnosis is also an opportunity for recovery. Try not to spend time regretting or feeling bad about the past. Focus on the present as much as possible and take action to move forward. Everyone’s experience is different and no one is ‘textbook,’ so trust your instincts – don’t be afraid to ask for help or escalate your care as-needed. Self-advocating is the best gift you can give yourself! It is ok to have setbacks (i.e. ‘2 steps forward, 1 step back’) – this disease is complicated and can be very hard to manage. Never forget that you are your best source of strength and compassion. You can do this!

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