Maria Włodarczak

Something I’m Proud of:

I was diagnosed with a bipolar affective disorder in March this year. I am proud to be able to find a lot of strength and develop in many ways despite such a serious illness. I’ve always wanted to help children with Down’s syndrome. I’m going to design and sell a coloring book for the children, and all the profits will go to charity. The disease has given me a lot of sensitivity and a deeper look into other people’s feelings. In episodes of mania, I can bring many people together and give them happiness.

Advice for Newly Diagnosed:

Be aware that you will have to take medication all your life to minimize extreme mood swings. But this is not the end of the world! Remember that you have people around you who will always support you. The disease itself can give you much more strength and creativity. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to become a counselor and I’d have to go back to school to get my second master’s degree. For 4 years, I was a full-time student, but these were not easy years. They were years when my bipolar disorder tried to take me down. Years full of mania, depression and more therapy than I knew was possible. This was the scariest time of my life. Some days I wasn’t sure I would survive. But I did. Not only did I survive, but I graduated with my counseling degree. And not only did I graduate, but I graduated with honors!

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