I am living with bipolar I disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, and I am fully recovered from a past eating disorder. Depression and anxiety have always been present in my life. Growing up, I struggled heavily with self-harm, and the extreme highs and lows appeared “normal” to me, until I spiraled dangerously out of control. I knew I needed help, but I became addicted to the rush. I drowned my emotions through drug use, constant partying, drinking myself into oblivion day in and day out, and through risky sexual behavior. I went through a destructive manic episode, which involved me dropping out of college, emptying my bank account, and moving to the Big Island of Hawaii. My careless actions nearly ruined my entire life.
I was impulsive, confused, suicidal, mentally unstable, and self-destructive. I didn't know what to do. I hit my breaking point.
In January 2016, I finally decided to seek psychiatric help and that was when I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Therapy forced me to face my demons head-on and unravel the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, life with my manic mother, and revealed the details behind my past suicide attempts. Some days are harder than others. There are days where it seems nearly impossible to get out of bed. I still struggle, but I am no longer allowing my illness to define all of who I am. I'm not perfect and I don't strive to be. My journey may not be pretty, but it has molded me into the person still standing here today.
To whoever may be struggling, mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and there is a light at the end of tunnel. Sometimes it may take breaking through the pain to see it.
Written by Dani Pope