Being Bipolar at Seventeen

Life stops when you first get sick. At seventeen, I was diagnosed as bipolar. It is hard even now to remember my reaction or feelings because everything was happening way too fast and all at once. I was crashing. Nothing felt safe or familiar. It would take me days to take control, months to feel normal again, and years to accept my new life. From the moment I got the big news a new path was paved. Incredibly difficult yes, impossible no. I would not be defined by my illness, it would only be but a part of me. I refused to be the victim of my circumstances. The years to come would be transformative and invaluable.   

At the beginning of my journey, there was so much confusion. But eventually, little by little healing would commence. Hope would always be within grasp. I slowly started to care for myself in a way I had not before. New routines would soon be established. There would be monthly doctor visits and weekly counseling sessions to attend. Homeschooling would become a new normal for me. Through therapy I would gain the experience that would get me through. I would learn an invaluable lesson, that I was not powerless when it came to Bipolar.

I would quickly find out that recovery is not linear, that there are a lot of moving parts. Sure, I did not have a typical high school experience. There was no prom or boyfriend or going on dates but sometimes life happens and adjustments have to be made for my own greater good. Baby steps would slowly be followed by giant strides towards a healthier me. I would end up joining a young adults support group, enrolling at a gym, becoming a member of a bible study group, as well as finding and maintaining a new part-time job at the mall. I rebuilt and was stronger for it. I was one lucky girl. I had the constant love of my family and friends who gave me room to grow. And guess what, I graduated high school and went to college. Although mental illness is challenging it still brought a lot of positivity to my life. I became resilient and gained a clearer view of life. I met incredible human beings and was presented with the opportunity to learn about myself. Life continues for me.