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I was recent diagnosed as bipolar. I only share this because I want to remove the stigma from my life. I have dealt with extreme highs and lows all of my life. Mostly rememberable since the time I was 14 and I started having darker thoughts. I can recall moving away to NZ on a whim when I was 19. Before that I was going to go to China and was fixated on leaving. Moving to the opposite side of the world seemed like the only was to escape my depression. It worked for 9 months or so. Until a day it rained and I realize how my I missed my family and friends from home. I bought a ticket back that day.

I want people to realize that depression and “mental illness” is not an illness at all. There is something a bit off about the neurochemicals in my brain that can be managed with medication (and hopefully therapy). To me it is no different than any other disease (i truly hate that word). If someone has Crohns I am not going to pity them or make them feel like they are less than. That being said if you talk to me in person please do not bring it up unless I do. I have told very few people, and not even my father. Which in the end is comical because I inherited it from his side of the family.

I am still exploring how to manage my symptoms and how to live a fulfilled life. I know I will make the best of the situation and even thrive in life. I think I just need to be patient with myself and know that it is not always rainbows and sunshine. I am ok with the lows as long as I do not dig myself deeper into my own grave. Figuratively and literally.

Normalize differences. Respect boundaries. And know that if you manage depressive symptoms there is always hope on the other side.