My family has always been very supportive and had my best interests in mind. Only my best friends know that I have bipolar disorder. When it comes to stigma, ever since I got out of the hospital in 9th grade I thought there was something wrong with me. My stepmom always did her best to let me know that “I was not crazy” and that taking my medicine was just like someone with diabetes taking medicine. Personally, given my family history (mother with untreated bipolar, and her mother as well), I believe I have the genetic predisposition to the disorder. It was only a matter of time before a significant stressor took me for lack of a better term “over the edge.” I do however, feel in control of my condition. I know that taking my medicine and prayer is the most important part of my life. I was afraid of the stigma because I always thought others were judging me, when in reality no one in high school had a clue. For all they know, I went on vacation. I didn’t have a typical “Navy child” upbringing. When my dad would get stationed somewhere else, my mom would not go. Side note, my mom and dad divorced when I was only 9, they had been unofficially separated long before then. So I never really had the stress of leaving friends and making new ones. I believe the instability of my mother played a large role in the onset of my disorder. So for now I continue to take my medicine as prescribed, maintain several hobbies, and exercise when I can.

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