Faces of Hope and Recovery

Featured Story

Nika

Nika

Something I am Proud Of:

My story of resilience began nine years ago. That was the year I entered law school. They asked me: “are you sure you can handle this?” Hardly scratching the surface of what my Bipolar I diagnosis meant, I said I could. It took me twice as long to finish law school, and I was stunned at the end of my final exam. I could not believe it. I had finished law school. I was someone with a law degree. The hardest part, however, was going over the times when I was fighting for it. At times, I felt I was fighting for my life. Bipolar I requires strength that is unimaginable. I suffered through episodes, I made regrettable choices, I ended up in the hospital as the security guards laughed at me. I left, humiliated for years. For these reasons, I knew I had to fight with my heart. I had to forgive myself. I had to turn away from triggers and words that were open wounds. I managed the self-awareness to complete law school, on my own time. I learned that love has so many facets to it, and some of it has space for me. I learned that I am not a secret, I am a person. I am not just resilient, I am someone who is surviving bipolar I.

Message for Newly Diagnosed:

When I stood where you stand, a woman with bipolar I, 8 years my senior, told me that it would get better. Life would start being less chaotic. She was right. You may find that you can do things as you would normally expect, however there will be things that you simply cannot do. If you don’t sleep, you will feel it. Sleep. On time. Always. Don’t be afraid. You are still you. You are going to learn to be tenacious and you will find workarounds that help you navigate this world. Those with bipolar disorder may not find it easy to settle, but you can. You are not broken. You have just been unjustly handed this diagnosis. You can succeed, but sometimes you need support and that’s okay.

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More Faces of Hope and Recovery

Conlan

Conlan

Something I am Proud Of: I’m not going to lie, sometimes it is difficult to acknowledge the parts of me that I am proud of. Before, I found pride and value in a lot of external things: my wardrobe, my relationships with others, how I presented on social media. In the...

Aníta

Aníta

Something I am Proud Of: What I am proud of in my journey is that I never gave up, no matter how hard things got. I always found a way to power through the darkness after a manic episode, and the trauma that can come along. I have been in a mental hospital 4 times...

Jamie

Jamie

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...

Lee

Lee

Something I am Proud Of: I am proud of what was once impossible; some stability living with Bipolar 2 through a consistent routine. After 15 years of drinking, gambling, and yelling at those I love; I no longer drink,I workout 3-5x/ week, eat healthy, sleep 8 hours,...

Che’

Che’

Something I am Proud Of: There have been countless times where I felt like I just couldn't "do life". In my most recent series of episodes, I quit my job that I once loved, I showered 3 times a month on average, I wore the same clothes I slept in over and over, I...

Mariah

Mariah

Something I am Proud Of: Hi, I’m Mariah. I’m 22 years old and I currently live in Italy. Here’s my story of dealing with Bipolar 1 disorder (with psychosis). I got diagnosed in February 2022 after I found myself in the psychiatric ward lying on the bed and...

Rosario

Rosario

Something I am Proud Of: After my first and only hospitalization, I learned to be more mindful of my moods, what causes me distress, and to look after myself. Before my hospitalization, I was a “moody,” and “dramatic” person, and of course I still can be those things,...

Lisa

Lisa

Something I am Proud Of: Despite my diagnosis of Bipolar I, and despite the highs and mostly lows I experience, I was able to earn a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology which included a 6-month practicum of therapist training in a psychiatric hospital. This...

Fatima

Fatima

Something I am Proud Of: I’m proud of how far I’ve come and how I keep pushing on. When I was first diagnosed I was really scared and I didn’t understand my diagnosis. There was so much internalized stigma going on. It’s taken time and effort but I’m finally at a...

Ellie

Ellie

Something I am Proud Of: As of today, May 13th 2022, I am celebrating my One Year Out Of Hospital milestone. This is just incredible. Throughout the last seven years, I was treated with the wrong meds and misdiagnosed with BPD (which I don’t have) alongside my...

Michelle

Michelle

Something I am Proud Of: I’m a mother. A good one. I practice intentional, positive parenting and try to be as patient as I can. I am always thinking of how situations affect my child. This is drastically different from what I had as a kid, where I was an extension of...

Molly

Molly

Something I am Proud Of: I’m very proud of how far I’ve come the past year. I’m staying out of the hospital, spending time with friends and WORKING at a job I love (I’m a direct support professional for individuals with disabilities). Meeting these goals hasn’t come...

Mallory

Mallory

Something I am Proud Of: I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 1 at age 19. Since then, I worked hard to educate myself on the illness and accept that it is not something to be ashamed of. I shared about my illness with friends and family knowing that I might need them to...

Courtney

Courtney

Something I am Proud Of: I am most proud of how far I have come in my life, as a result of seeking a diagnosis and committing to my treatment. I never imagined I would make it this far into my life, let alone be in the financially, mentally, and physically stable...

Kathy

Kathy

Something I am Proud of: When I look back on all my achievements and accomplishments since my diagnosis at 17, what fills my heart with the most joy is being able to help others who are currently struggling with their mental health, by using the insight I gained from...

Amanda

Amanda

Something I am Proud Of: I thought if people knew how I felt, I would lose everything. As a kid I experienced trauma, abuse and struggled with addiction. At 14 I was admitted for psychiatric care after a suicide attempt. After that I felt like I needed to pretend...

Jessie

Jessie

Something I am Proud Of: After spending time educating myself and seeking support, I feel proud of my understanding of my diagnosis. Learning what works for me has been huge in helping guide me on my mental health journey. I’m also proud of connections I’ve made after...

Billy

Billy

Something I am Proud Of: I am a shy guy with poor self-esteem, so I didn’t have many friends, was bullied, and traumatized as a kid. Things got worse when I left home to pursue my bachelor degree. I was unaware about my condition and behavior, until it reached climax...

Katie

Katie

Something I am Proud Of: A victory of mine while having this diagnosis is that I got married, held my job for over a year and love it, bought a house, got a dog, and managed to maintain a lot of stability through it all. My biggest victory is knowing I need to take my...

Ashley

Ashley

Something I am Proud Of: I’m extremely proud of myself for finally being able to accept my diagnosis and no longer feeling like it is something I need to hide. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder in late 2019, and was in denial until about a year later.  I was on...

Amanda

Amanda

Something I am Proud Of: During the battle of finally getting my diagnosis, I’m extremely proud of my ability to keep fighting to get answers, fighting for anyone to listen and fighting to stay alive. I have always thought my voice was my strongest weapon or super...

Mel

Mel

Something I am Proud Of: I was diagnosed with Bipolar I at age 21 after my first manic episode. After my diagnosis, I went 6 years without a psychiatrist as I was lost in the waitlist system. I eventually had my second manic episode, which was more severe. In my...

Jess

Jess

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...

Hannah

Hannah

Something I am Proud Of: I’m very proud to be at a place in my life where managing my mental illness no longer fears like an insurmountable task and more like a regular part of my daily life. While it’s still a full-time responsibility and can be a lot to contend with...

Beth

Beth

Something I am Proud Of: I am proud of myself for having the wherewithal to recognize that something was wrong. I always thought that I was suffering from depression, but my gut was telling me it was more than that. I took the steps needed to connect with my therapist...

Phil

Phil

Something I am Proud Of: I am proud that I have been able to maintain a healthy and stable life for the past five years since being correctly diagnosed (though I have lived with this condition for over 20 years). I attribute this to consistently taking my medications...

Ana

Ana

Something I am Proud Of: I always thought that my mental illness would get in the way of pursuing my passions and dreams. However, consistent therapy and the proper meds have been game changers for me. After my first year of consistent therapy and meds, I was able to...

Salsabiela

Salsabiela

Something I am Proud Of: I was diagnosed recently, but I've felt something was wrong in me since June 2021. Finally, I dared to go to a psychiatrist in October 2021. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and of course I was shocked. My courage was to tell my family...

Vina

Vina

Something I am Proud Of: I'm most proud about my life that got back on track. It was as series of destructive behaviors that ruined my education, career, and relationships. At times I could be the life of the party, and most times I felt like a shell of a person....

Ashley

Ashley

Advice to Newly Diagnosed: Diagnosis does not mean ruination. Your diagnosis can feel like it's taking over the trajectory of your life, but you are the creator of your path, and acceptance will come with time. I wholeheartedly believe that knowledge is power. One of...

Kathryn

Kathryn

Something I am Proud Of: I am proud of myself for completing school. I was struggling with a manic episode and then slipped through a long depression. I even had to delay my final project, but I did it! It’s only been about nine months since my diagnosis, but I feel...

Abigail

Abigail

Something I am Proud Of: Before my hospitalization & diagnosis, I thought I had control over my mental health. I thought the really bad days were canceled out by the really good days. I thought my suicidal ideations were just intrusive thoughts that came and went....

Chloe

Chloe

Something I am Proud Of: I’m proud of owning up for my actions and my mistakes. I never used my mental illness as an excuse for my behavior, but I was letting it take control of me. I used to do things that would destroy my relationships, not only with others, but...

Savannah

Savannah

Something I am Proud of: It was March 2016. My apartment was chosen, and my boxes were packed. My move-in date approached, but my mood took a turn for the worse. I didn’t end up moving out on my own anytime soon. Five years later, my little sister began applying to...

Fernando

Fernando

Something I'm Proud Of: When I was 20 years old, I experienced my first panic attack, and for 7 years, I've struggled with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Last year, I suffered my first psychosis episode and was admitted into a psychiatric center, a place...

Lauren

Lauren

Something I am Proud Of: I am proud of not giving up on myself eight years ago. After my first hypomanic episode, I was often confused and frustrated, as I tried to find the right treatment team for myself. Eventually, I found providers who have helped me not only...

Maribel

Maribel

Something I am Proud of: In my journey to managing my mental illness, I am proud of overcoming the shame of my diagnosis and the embarrassment I felt after my two severe manic episodes that lead to two hospitalizations. When I was first diagnosed in June 2020, I...

April

April

Something I Am Proud Of: I am most proud of healing the relationships with my family and being able to work on my passions again. In 2009, I was a full-time artist and did show after show, spinning into mania until I crashed into a depression. During treatment, I...

Bryan

Bryan

Something I am Proud of: Growing up, I was ambitious and had big dreams for myself. When I was diagnosed with bipolar at 19, I thought my life was over. Over time, I learned that stringing together moments of stability and joy was one way of building a meaningful life...

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