If you live with depression or bipolar, when things are at their worst it can feel like things will never get better. It may be when you are first diagnosed or during a difficult event, or for no particular reason that you can pinpoint at all. What we do know is that these times do pass and that you are not alone. In fact, when we take time to reflect on our experiences and circumstances, we often find, with overwhelming proof, the strength we have shown during some of our greatest challenges.
DBSA’s blog and podcast series, I’m Living Proof: A Letter to My Younger Self, shares inspiring stories of young adult peers who are living proof that they can overcome even the most difficult times.
Coming to Terms with Bipolar
Mik knew something was wrong when at 10 years old she experienced suicidal ideation. What started as something she couldn’t understand took her on a journey which ended up with her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Now, Mik bravely shares her experience through humor and educational videos online, and discusses her journey and activism with us. Read Mik’s letter to her younger self.
Episode Coming August 2.
Anger is a Double-Edge Sword
When Sadie finds out she has been diagnosed with bipolar, she doesn’t know what to expect from life. What she finds is an empowering journey of activism, finding sobriety, and creating a community of friends who understand what she is all about. Read Sadie’s letter.
Healing is There for You
For Sierra, coming to terms with her diagnosis of bipolar II was a journey. Through her perseverance and with some support from her family she has found that she is living proof. Read Sierra’s letter to her younger self.
You’re Not Alone
For Brianna, it was a long road to find the support she needed for her diagnosis of depression and bipolar. In overcoming a great deal of adversity, Brianna has found that she is living proof. Read Brianna’s letter to her younger self.
We Carry Each Other
For James, leaving school during freshman year to focus on treatment was challenging. While feeling every one of his plans was derailed, through commitment to his treatment, he comes to find the gratitude for those who helped him seek support. Read James’ letter to his younger self.
I Am Not Resilient
For Katrina, imagining loving everything about herself seemed impossible but in her letter to her younger self, she has come to a place in which she does. She talks to us about her journey to become the mental health advocate and podcast host she is today. Read Katrina’s Letter
Season One 2021
This too Shall Pass
For Shaun, being diagnosed with Bipolar II provided the clarity he needed to understand his symptoms. However, Shaun quickly came to realize, he isn’t his symptoms, and that mental health is a journey, not a destination. Through connecting with others and a strong support system, Shaun has been able to find what works for his own wellness. Read Shaun’s letter.
Live at Leadership Summit
Olivia, Lauren, Johnny, and Maddie have all shared their letters and recorded a podcast for I’m Living Proof: A Letter to My Younger Self. In this special live episode recorded during DBSA’s 2021 Leadership Summit Conference, past participants gave us an inside look at what it was like to write a letter to their younger selves. Read the Episode Synopsis.
My Mental Health is Not A Curse
For Gwyneth, there isn’t a time she can remember that was free of mental health disorder symptoms. Experiencing hallucinations as early as four years old, Gwyneth shares the incredible journey she has taken through treatment and hospitalizations to becoming the accomplished woman she is today: a mental health and disability advocate, and a leader. Gwyneth says her experiences of living with a mood disorder led to her becoming a creative, insightful, resilient, brave, empathetic, and empowered adult. Read Gwyneth’s letter to her younger self.
Navigating Through the Darkness
For Maddie, her wellness journey “isn’t necessarily about ‘reaching the other side’, but rather learning to navigate the darkness of depression.” Having dealt with panic attacks, depression, and anxiety, Maddie found the strength to ask for the help she needed. Now, she’s sharing her story and celebrating the wide support network she found after her diagnosis. Read Maddie’s letter to her younger self.
Young Men Can Heal Too
In this episode of I’m Living Proof: A Letter to My Younger Self, we hear from Johnny about what it took for him to overcome obstacles and find wellness. Johnny discusses how being diagnosed with a chronic illness at a young age had a long-term impact on his mental health. Having navigated guilt and shame surrounding his mental health difficulties, Johnny is now an outspoken advocate for those struggling like he once did. Johnny’s letter reminds us: Even when faced with systemic issues, young men can heal too. Read Johnny’s letter to his younger self.
Bipolar Does Not Define Me
In the second episode of I’m Living Proof: A Letter to My Young Self, we hear from Lauren, a DBSA Young Adult Council member, about her first experience with hypomania. Lauren talks about her experiences from setting up treatment to difficulties with insurance. Lauren’s letter reminds us that you can learn to live successfully with bipolar and not be defined by it. Read Lauren’s letter to her younger self.
Wellness is Trending Upwards
In the first episode of I’m Living Proof: A Letter to My Younger Self, we hear from DBSA Young Adult Council member Olivia about her first experience with her mood disorder diagnosis. Olivia’s story reminds us, “the path to wellness isn’t always a straight line, but it is trending upwards”. Read Olivia’s letter to her younger self.