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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