My name is Charlotte, and I have Bi-Polar Type 2 Disorder and PTSD. I am a 21-year-old young woman that works, is a student working towards a degree in the medical field, has two awesome dogs, maintains friendships and healthy familial relationships, and maintains a serious relationship with a wonderful and big-hearted man. I am wise beyond my years because from a young age I have experienced what fighting for your life is like, and I have learned what “getting out of your own way” means.
Mental Health Background:
At 15-years-old I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety like many do before the brain is fully developed (between the ages of 21-26). I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder and PTSD at 19-years-old after a suicide attempt. I’ve gotten help from doctors and therapists of all sorts. I’ve been a patient in behavioral hospitals with the worst of the worst cases, but always the biggest hearts. I’ve been a patient in some of the top treatment facilities available in the United States and even the world. I have my”cocktail” of medications that most days will keep me getting out of bed, not quitting my job, school career, and every relationship I have worked hard to keep healthy and loving. I am a child of two v successful college graduates with no mental illness. I am a sibling of two very successful college graduates with no mental illness. To say I am the “black sheep” in my family is an understatement. I am blessed to have a family that does not understand, but they support and encourage my efforts to win this battle anyway.
What I have learned:
Although some treatments and religions may say that you can be healed, this is not so. (Some spirituality never hurt anyone though.) That is the very sad and, at times, very overwhelming truth though. I am going to live with this the rest of my life. Am I terrified? Absolutely. Am I going to give up? Absolutely NOT! Not many understand my disease and that is okay. I ask that others do not judge me for what I cannot change though. Do not be afraid to accept a friendship with me because of this. In fact, I have a heart that will try harder than many to understand and support you in your own struggle. That is just it, isn’t it? We all struggle with something. Here is some insight on how mental illness does not necessarily allow me to cope like some of my friends and family: I cannot drink my struggle away– I will seize because of multiple medications I take. I cannot get high to numb-out the voices and paranoia– I will hallucinate and lose control of all emotion which could lead to tragedy. (Also, more pills do not sound appealing.) I cannot starve myself– I will throw up the medication that makes me feel nauseous without a decent meal. I cannot throw up– I will not absorb the expensive medication I need to show up to work and get a degree that will allow me to get a good paying job with insurance to cover my expensive medical road ahead. I cannot eat my problems away– I am already gaining a sufficient amount of weight from the Lithium that keeps my anger in check. I cannot be promiscuous– I am emotionally confused as is. What CAN I do? Read, write, paint, do yoga, jog, work in a positive place, meditate, walk my dogs, cuddle with my understanding and strong man, go swimming, see my therapist every week, see my psychiatrist every month, reach out to others, smile, and most of all WAKE UP KNOWING THAT I AM NOT MY DISEASE! No, I am NOT Bi-Polar… I HAVE Bi-Polar, and I am a human-being currently winning a tough battle at a young age.
My Life Today:
I am my own hero, and that in itself gets me through the tough times. Inner strength is ingrained in my human spirit. I was made to survive. (Ps. We all were!)
For those with mental illness: I don’t know you, but I love you. Don’t give up. If you can get through today you will be that much more thankful for tomorrow. See past your diagnosis, do not identify yourself by it.
For those who are friends/live with someone with mental illness: Keep giving them a chance. We are very loyal and supportive of you at the end of the day. Also, we tend to be creative along with having a great sense of humor. 🙂
Everyone: Lust your life! Keep that heart beating. Remember to not only breathe… LIVE!