9 Things People With Bipolar Disorder Wish You Knew

1. Getting diagnosed sucks — but doesn’t change anything.

Receiving a diagnosis of any chronic mental illness sucks.In an instant, all hope of your symptoms being part of a “phase” that you will eventually “outgrow” is effectively erased. This is for life, baby — there’s no escaping it. Medication, therapy and regular psychiatrist appointments are now a permanent part of your future. I hope you have good medical insurance.

The best thing anyone said to me after I received my diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder came from my dad; he simply said: “You are still you. This doesn’t change anything.” Being diagnosed can feel like a life-changing event, but really it isn’t. You now have a name for the demon you have been fighting for however many years, but this fight is not new. If anything, you are now better armed for battle via appropriate medication and therapy.

Once I got over the initial shock of being diagnosed, I found it to be liberating. Finally, there was an explanation for why I had been feeling like this for the past 15 years, why the antidepressants hadn’t worked, why my parents had to take me to a psychologist at age 10 because I was angry all the time. Once I decided I was not ashamed of this diagnosis, I actually breathed a sigh of relief.

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