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 contemplating the ceiling, as I was in pure confusion and turbulence at that moment. I was hospitalized due to a psychotic break and I must admit it wasn’t an easy thing to accept. Not only did I experience a psychotic episode, but I was also in a depressive condition that led me to attempt suicide. However, as they say, everything happens for a reason. I guess I needed to be there because it made me receive my diagnosis, get medicated, and be followed by brilliant specialists to whom I am thankful. I’m especially grateful to my psychiatrist because we both have worked thoroughly to get me on the right medication routine (even though sometimes intrusive thoughts come up saying that I can’t function without being chemically altered.) 

Now I work as a teacher, study Law, and volunteer. I love my job, the kids and teens I work with are pure joy to me. I live by myself, and handle all the micro and macro things on my own. It wasn’t easy getting back on track after being released from the hospital, but I did it through patience and perseverance.

What I’ve been through made me change my social circle and understand who is there for me and who isn’t. Moreover, I started to look at life differently, and I now appreciate each simple thing I experience and pass through.

I never thought I could do all the daily things that I perform and feel free and view my life from a positive perspective with hope. I’m happy to be living alone, as I am getting to know myself more and more each day with the ability to dedicate my time to self-healing. Similarly, I enjoy my company and I’ve started to become very selective when it comes to people because with what I’ve been through, I’ve learned to value my time.

Of course, there are still ups and downs. My life is still a roller coaster, but by giving myself time to understand the triggers or to talk to myself and my therapists, I’m better at handling them and trying my best to prevent the outbreaks.

Message for Newly Diagnosed:

Sticking to medication and a healthy fixed routine was a bit challenging at the beginning, but trust me, it is the only thing that keeps me off the hook.

Sleeping is essential. I barely party or go out late at night, but if I do so, I’m strong enough to go back home at a perfect time which will lead me to have a healthy sleep. I set a limit, of no more/less than 8 hours of sleep. In addition, I made my apartment cozier with candles, blankets, and warm lights, to feel safe and quiet.

Taking the medication is vital, and it changed the whole world for me. Of course, I must not deny the fact that the side effects annoy me, and that trying to find the right medication and dosage isn’t easy, but I have learned to manage them.

Another tip I would give is to be able to open up, at least to people you trust. I was silent over the years, nobody could understand my irrational behavior and I would get judged. Nonetheless, when I started talking about bipolar to my friends and family, I felt much safer knowing that there will be help in times of need.

Those small things have changed my life, and I am working as well on my self-esteem, self-acceptance, and healing. I’m deeply grateful for all the good and bad, crazy and normal experiences I’ve been through for the past years because they taught me how to be strong and that no matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone.

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