Faces of Hope and Recovery

Featured Story

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 didn’t accept it, but after the second hospitalization in  that same year, I finally accepted that I am ill and I do need help. It was the hardest thing for me to overcome, because I had always felt like there was something different about me and my thought process, but never thought that my brain is actually sick. I was always so driven and determined to be the best in everything I did and to be the best version of myself. I was an amateur competitive boxer for three years and a two time Golden Glove champion before I had my daughter in 2018. After she was born, I took on way more responsibility and stress than I could manage and learned that stress was a trigger, as well as lack of sleep. I wanted to do everything on my own, and that was a huge mistake. Now, I regularly ask for help and make time for myself, so I can take care of my daughter and have energy for others. I am still learning about my illness and getting used to recognizing my triggers, but a year ago I didn’t think I would be where I am today. I am so thankful for my support group and for organizations like IBPF that showed me there is hope, and my dreams don’t have to end because of my diagnosis. This is just a new chapter with more clarity and learning to be done.

Advice for Newly Diagnosed:

For someone who is newly diagnosed, I would advise you to be kind to yourself over all and take your life one day or one hour at a time.  Being diagnosed for the first time can be a lot to process, and you might almost feel like an alien, so I also advise finding a support group to help you feel understood and seen. I think that feeling like there is no one to relate to or talk to can be hindering the progress to managing a mental illness. Once you have a solid support system, then start prioritizing activities that support your mental health like exercising, reading, singing, painting, dancing, or anything really that may bring you joy.

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More Faces of Hope and Recovery

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...

Monty

Monty

Something I am Proud Of: I've spent 6 months working on a new kind of peer support experience for people with bipolar. The unique capabilities of the Clubhouse technology is what makes this possible. More information is available at linktr.ee/bipolarsupportclub....

Ben

Ben

Something I am Proud of: Simply starting my mental health journey. Walking into a therapist’s office, admitting I was afraid of myself and had tried everything under the sun to calm that fear was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The awareness of my diagnosis,...

Kelly

Kelly

Something I am Proud Of: I am proud that over the past 7 years (since I first began mental health treatment) I have consistently stayed in therapy and taken my meds, despite relapses, medication issues, and major life stressors. I am also proud that during each...

Dayna J.

Dayna J.

Something I am Proud of: When I was finally medically compliant two years after my initial diagnosis, the hospital psychiatrist told me I would never work again. She encouraged me to seek disability. Give up my professional aspirations. I fired her. Then I fought my...

Paris Prynkiewicz

Paris Prynkiewicz

Something I am Proud Of: A moment I am most proud of when it comes to managing my bipolar diagnosis is launching my podcast, "Master Your M.E.N.T.A.L" to share my story to inspire others on how to shatter the stigma, conquer obstacles and craft the life they want to...

Catalina Bellizzi

Catalina Bellizzi

Something I am Proud Of: I’m proud of myself for never giving up on ME, even in the hardest moments. I chose every day to fight my way towards the right treatment, med combo, & therapy modalities. There were some unbelievably dark days- especially since things got...

Grace Scarpello

Grace Scarpello

Something I am Proud Of: Something I am proud of in my journey with managing bipolar disorder would be staying. Choosing to stay despite many moments of struggle and trauma has been my greatest achievement. I decided many years ago that leaving early wasn’t an option...

Maria Fernandez

Maria Fernandez

Something I am Proud Of: I thought I was going to get married to him, until I realized I was hypomanic and only in love with a dream. I thought my best friend would always be by my side, until she chose not to be, and died by suicide. I thought I had the independence...

Elizabeth Starck

Elizabeth Starck

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Darcie Cohee

Darcie Cohee

Something I am Proud Of: I'm proud of my overall journey; I have come a long way since my proper diagnosis at age 28 (four years ago), and even further since struggling with severe depression throughout my late teens and into my early 20s. I spent the majority of my...

George Zou

George Zou

Something I am Proud Of: Before being on injection, I was hospitalized 10 times and spent 5 years completing 1 year worth of college. However, once I found the right medication, I successfully completed 4 degrees total in 4 different disciplines: Liberal Arts,...

Lauren Favichia

Lauren Favichia

Something I am Proud Of: The thing that I am most proud of during my mental health journey, is that I have managed to continue furthering my education. Even though I've not reached my goal yet and I've ran into many different obstacles along the way, I refuse to just...

Jennifer Randal-Thorpe

Jennifer Randal-Thorpe

Something I am Proud Of: I am proud to say that I have 39 years of lived experience.  I am a six- time suicide attempt survivor and on my journey, I have had to endure many things.  Whether they were good things or bad things my life experience has taught me how to...

Ashley Sievewright

Ashley Sievewright

Something I am proud of: Something I am proud of is overcoming stigma. A few years after being diagnosed an episode led me to being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. I expected my hospitalisation to represent something close to the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's...

Mariko Hewer

Mariko Hewer

Advice For Newly Diagnosed: First, deep breath. Whether you are afraid of or enthusiastic about your future (or both), take it one day at a time. Life is unpredictable under the best of circumstances; add in mental illness and the instability multiplies. Get confident...

Matt Cohen

Matt Cohen

Hi! My name is Matt Cohen, I’m 22 years old, and I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar 2. This journey has been a long and often hard one, but there’s a whole lot to be proud of, not just for me but for everyone at any point in this journey! Something I am Proud Of: One...

Vibhuti (Bipolar Didi)

Vibhuti (Bipolar Didi)

Advice For Newly Diagnosed: Try to become self-aware. Remember. Understand. Get help from the right people and the right sources! Therapy, therapy and therapy. Accept yourself (but don't be grandiose about the red flags in your own personality if any) Find your...

Bipolar Wanderings

Bipolar Wanderings

Something I am Proud Of: After a mental breakdown during my master’s program in 2016, I lost myself in a trail of  black and white thinking, suicidal ideation, and catastrophic thinking (i.e. imagining the worst  for my life). In short, from June 2016 – June 2017, I...

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