At the age of 16, I was in a serious car accident and suffered a concussion. Within two weeks after the accident, something about me was different.
Step 1: Relief
At the age of 27, during my first psychiatric hospitalization, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I remember feeling the biggest sense of relief and thinking to myself, “Finally! Now there’s an answer to that question I have asked myself over and over for the last 10 years–WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH ME?”
What a great feeling it was to know that my “personality” didn’t cause my irrational behavior. Instead, it was a “very serious illness” that caused my irrational behavior. I immediately told myself, “You are a good person with a not-so-good disorder.”
The relief lasted for a short time, maybe six weeks or so. Next I faced something that was so far from that good feeling of relief!
Step 2: Denial
I was now at a point of despair. The thought of being labeled was too hard to accept. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and scared. So if I pretended it didn’t exist, all of those feelings would go away. I soon came to realize that was NOT going to happen. I needed help, so I went to see a counselor. He helped me to understand that acknowledging that I had Bipolar Disorder was the only way to move on with my “new life.”
Yes, I had a “new life” to start living. I was now a woman living with Bipolar Disorder. That “new life” began over 22 years ago.
I have taken many steps during this twenty-two-year journey. You’ve just read about my first two. I have so many more to write about.
Thank you for reading my stories. Without you all, my pages would be blank. Hugs!!