“Last night I was lucid dreaming and awoke drenched in sweat I absolutely terrified. I was in the hospital bed being violently scratched by cats. All over my face and body. My teeth kept falling out and there was nothing I could do about it. I kept telling myself to wake up but it only propelled me into the darkness. I finally awoke to the nurse making the bed beside me. Next thing I know, two nurses bring in my new roommate via wheelchair. I have a feeling she’s fucked up on something. This place never ceases to entertain.”

- Journal entry from my hospital stay

I want to be completely transparent and honest here because it’s a personal mission of mine. I’d like to share pieces of my personal journey because I feel that it’s necessary right now. I am not a celebrity or a public figure. I am not well known. All I have is a story, we all have stories. I know that sharing this information might cause people to see me differently. I know that I will be judged and talked down upon. All I have to say to that is SHAME ON YOU.

On July 14th, 2015 I experienced the most extreme “break from reality” I had ever experienced in my life. It was like watching a movie. I remember everything happening but looking back I wasn’t the one running the show. I was filled with the most intense sense of euphoria I have ever felt. I was untouchable, I hadn’t slept for days, and I barely ate anything during that time. My speech was hurried, while my sense of reality was skewed. It became very apparent that something was wrong. My life as I knew it came crashing down and I ended up hospitalized. I was manic.

EDIT: I was also being prescribed prescription meds at the time that were not conducive to my illness. They were making me extremely ill and only magnifying this very chaotic situation.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar I years before and didn’t necessarily believe it. This finally convinced me, my illness had pronounced itself. Bipolar Disorder is a chronic mental illness in that it is incurable and will last a lifetime. It can also lead to tragic and sometimes fatal results. BUT we have the power within ourselves to manage it. Bipolar is very difficult to diagnose especially if substances come into play. It took me many years to finally get a solid diagnosis. It takes the average person 10 years. 30% of people who see the doctor for depression are unknowingly Bipolar. With that being said, YOU are not qualified to diagnose your “crazy” ex-girlfriend, the weather, your spouse, or your loved ones as being bipolar. Do your research, figure out an effective way to approach your loved one and seek help. Many resources are available.

I have no shame in coming clean about my mental illness. I’ve worked SO hard and continue to work hard to get to where I am today. I have an arsenal of self-care practices that I’ve worked into my everyday routine. I take medication responsibility, I practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) I practice gratitude daily. I do activities that fill my soul. I listen to inspirational podcasts/YouTube speeches almost daily. I have a SAD lamp that I use in the Fall and Winter months. SLEEP. I’ve cut all substances out of my life completely which was the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental health hands down. I try to exercise and eat healthy. I see my trifecta of health care professionals regularly. I’m surrounded by positive family, co-workers, role models, and friends. All in all I try my best and I’m gentle with myself on days where I literally sleep the entire day and can’t get out of bed. It’s such a high maintenance way to live but it’s been completely worth it.

One of the best things I ever learned to do was to STOP COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHERS. It still happens once in a while, I’m not perfect, but it has helped me put the focus back on my accomplishments big and small. Oh, and that rumor that individuals with Bipolar Disorder are usually “creative geniuses” that’s 100% true.

PLEASE NOTE that in claiming “creative genius” I’m being facetious. We are all individual beings and someone else’s journey with Bipolar will be completely different from mine. This is my story from my perspective. I’m clearly not a medical professional. Please do your research or seek medical assistance if needed!