One of the worst moment I’ve had living with Bipolar would be when I was sixteen. I remember sitting on the bathroom floor with a razor, wanting to feel something, anything, even if that meant pain. It was almost like I could release all of the emotion I was feeling if I cut myself. So I did. I still have a faint scar on the inside of my elbow. I remember being angry when the cuts didn’t even bleed hardly at all. I had cut across rather than up and down. So all it did was leave a scratch. My mother noticed the scratches later that day. I tried to blame them on the cat, but my mom called my psychiatrist and immediately set up an appointment. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I would be diagnosed with Bipolar I after a particularly bad manic episode.

I’ve been able to move on from where I was then to where I am now, through positive encouragement from my family and my boyfriend. With their continued support, along with my therapist and psychiatrist, I have been able to learn better coping skills, and I continue taking my medications every day. I’ve built a life for myself that I am proud of. It didn’t happen overnight.

I’ve had to quit and change jobs several times, when I’ve either gotten too depressed or anxious to continue. I’ve been able to overcome a lot of setbacks, and managed to find the positive in all of it.

Being proud of myself even on days when I don’t feel my best, and realizing that I don’t need to be perfect. I’m allowed to have bad days. I’m allowed to be not okay. Accepting this has been one of the hardest, but best things I’ve done for myself. Wellness to me is waking up every day and getting up, getting dressed, and being grateful for all I have in my life, even if I don’t particularly feel like getting out of bed that day. Just knowing I have a reason to get out of bed and doing so is a good day. An even better day is feeling happy and content with my life.

Some positives in my life right now are my ability to look at myself in the mirror and like the person that is looking back at me. My boyfriend – who always believes I can do it even when I doubt myself. My parents and sister who are always there for me if I need to reach out and talk. My therapist who has always been able to know what to say or not say and helped me find my own way through things. My psychiatrist who gives me the medications I need and always takes my input about how I am truly feeling. She is always willing to work with me.

I didn’t always believe that I would have a successful life that would be so full of positivity. In the past I was afraid my condition would define me, and hold me back in life. That hasn’t happened. Instead I’ve been able to have a job, live on my own, and experience life happily and fully. Just because you need to take medication and go to therapy does mean that you cannot enjoy your life. I’m living proof that you can and you will.

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