I was first diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder when I was five years old. At that time, my mother did not accept the diagnosis and moved forward with no help. At the age of 23, after I had my first child, I was diagnosed again. I did not accept my diagnosis at that time. At the age of 31, I was once again diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, ADHD and PTSD. I accepted my diagnosis’ and went for treatment.
Through my life, there have been great losses and broken relationships due to the stigma of mental illness. It amazes me when I come to realize how destructive ignorance can be. I wish the people in my life had been educated at least enough to know that mental illness, like any physical illness, is not a choice. It is not a moral issue. It has absolutely nothing to do with values and integrity. Mental illness does not mean less than.
There is so much brilliance hidden in people who are disregarded because of a diagnosis. So much courage, fortitude, loyalty and love. The creativity is endless. Just like anyone else, we are leaders, followers, teachers, friends, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters. We are parents who love our children and children who love our parents. We are human beings.
What I would really like to see, is a way for people to appreciate the value of a person with a mental illness. Just like everyone else, we each have gifts to give the world. Great gifts and it seems such a waste to throw away such assets, based on ignorant assumptions. Over the past fifteen years, I have struggled to accept, understand and become compliant with my diagnosis. Bi-Polar to me is not a bad thing anymore. I know what it means in my life and those around me and I know what I have to do to manage it.
Over the past few years, I have come to terms with the fact that the stigma of mental illness is what it is. I have been astounded to find that in general, people will react to my disorder as opposed to reacting to my actual behavior. People have a tendency to hold on to their ideas when those ideas are driven by fear of what they do not understand. I would love to be a part of lifting that veil of fear, the veil of ignorance that people struggle to hold onto. The world would be a better place if people cared more about what is, then what appears to be.
As for the way things are now in my journey, I struggle on a daily basis to move past the losses I have had due to the stigma, move forward with my life the way it is now and hopefully prepare myself for something better.
-submitted by Trae from Tripleclicka.com
IMAGE CREDIT: Healthyplace.com
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