When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the beginning of 2010, I felt like a failure, as if having a label made me less of a person. I originally hid this from everyone besides the people that needed to know. As time went on, I learned more about my illness and came up with my own ways of dealing with it. Medication didn’t seem to work for me, so I became great at using mindfulness, and while I definitely do not recommend to others unless as a last resort, it works great for me. The biggest turning point in me accepting my illness was when in 2011, Demi Lovato came out about her own diagnosis with bipolar. I had always admired the singer/actress for her music and style, but now she had provided something else to respect her for – being open and honest about something that is still considered so taboo.
Lovato is still making progress to this day with the stigma surrounding mental illness, and it’s giving more and more people the chance to speak up. A lot of celebs have opened up about their struggles and lately several more have joined the conversation.
“People who are dealing with depression, addiction or suicidal thoughts or mental illness … they’re strong. You’re strong because you’ve been in this fight and you wake up thinking you’re going to beat it again today.”
“I’ve suffered through depression and anxiety my entire life, I still suffer with it every single day. I just want these kids to know that that depth that they feel as human beings is normal. We were born that way. This modern thing, where everyone is feeling shallow and less connected? That’s not human.”
“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.”
This is so important to make us feel like we are not alone in our struggles and challenges when living with a diagnosis. It’s also allowing a conversation to happen, and telling others that there is no reason to hide in the shadows.
You can even find support of You Matter bloggers who have written about their struggles with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, or you may find you want to completely disengage from the label completely. Do what is best for your understanding of yourself. And if you change your mind and switch, that’s fine too.