Michele Barrett

I can’t start anywhere to be exact. I’ve been sick since I was 16 years old and I developed insomnia due to the illness, or so my caregivers and I thought. It wasn’t until a few months before I turned 19 that things got out of control for me. I was 19 when I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (I with rapid cycling episodes). Due to the Bipolar Disorder, I developed social anxiety, aggression issues, my ADHD was uncovered, and the insomnia eventually led to sleep deprivation, which caused psychotic episodes. I was young and already had a chronic illness, I didn’t want another. The first years were hard. I was very sensitive to medications and it took a long time to discover which was best suited for me. It took a bit to fully accept and let things go. Realizing that, while having mental illness is a huge part of who you are, it isn’t who you are. You can’t let it rule your life. Take the bull by the horns and learn to handle it because it’s different for each person, no brain is the same and no mental illness can be treated the same. My major hope is to let people of all ages realize that you can have control of your life and that they can prove the labels attached with mental illness are wrong.

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