How Bipolar Disorder Shapes Tiana Duddleston's Summer


Tiana Duddleston cover

How Tiana Duddleston feels about her body often depends on the state of her bipolar disorder. “If I’m manic, I feel a lot better about myself and I usually lose more weight because I don’t eat and I’m very active, so during those times I’ll wear more flattering things,” Duddleston explained. “If I’m depressed, or just in between, I will cover myself up more and constantly try to hide my stomach.”

While Duddleston can appreciate summertime, the warm weather in Sound Beach, New York, often makes the 34-year-old feel obligated to be enjoying herself. “The nice weather makes me feel like I’m supposed to be outside and I’m supposed to be happy, and if I’m not I’m wasting the day,” she said.

Duddleston, who is 6 feet tall, finds it hard not to compare herself to the models and celebrities she sees in magazines – many of whom share her height, but not her body type. “I see models and actresses having babies and looking perfect weeks after,” the mother of four said. “This year I had a baby and went bathing suit shopping and ended up with what I sort of consider a ‘mom suit.’”

“I’ve been trying hard to be happy with who I am, before what I look like,” Duddleston, who also has borderline personality disorder and anxiety, said. “It’s not easy because of all the meds I take… My medicine makes me tired. My kids make me tired. Life in general just makes me want to sit back and relax after a long day.”

Duddleston is working hard to improve her inner-dialogue. “Despite the negative things I say about myself, I think every woman and man should be happy being who they are no matter their body type,” she said.

Read More: This Is What It Looks Like When You Feature Disabled and Chronically Ill People in Magazines

Next: Justina Bonilla: When Health Conditions Affect How You Dress in the Summer

TOPICS
, Photo story
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Bipolar Disorder

The Mighty features three people with chronic illnesses on magazine covers

Ros Limbo Fights Her Body Insecurities in the Summer

Ros Limbo used to date a photographer. Looking at his photographs, the 25-year-old remembers staring at the same body type over and over again. “They all had super long legs, rock hard abs, toned arms and the perfect bum,” Limbo said. “Whenever I looked at them, I realized they had the perfect ‘beach bodies.’” Limbo, [...]
Suzy Favor-Hamilton running a race

I'm an Olympian, Former Escort and Now – a Mental Health Advocate

My name is Suzy Favor Hamilton. I was once one of the top middle distance runners in the world and a three-time Olympian. After my running career, I was a successful businesswoman, wife and mother living in Wisconsin. To many, my life appeared perfect. An image I had tried to live up to my entire [...]
Glasses on a wooden table

What I Do to Feel Good on the ‘Bad Days’ With Bipolar Disorder

Some days, I wake up and can tell it’s going to be a bad day. Those are the mornings when I can feel it down deep in my bones that this day will not be good, unless I make it happen. Those are the days I know I have to mentally prepare myself to be [...]
a woman in a strapless dress surrounded by flashing cameras

My Concerns About Bipolar Disorder Becoming 'Cool'

I recently saw a quote on Facebook that said something like, “I had bipolar before it was cool.” That really made me think. Is it cool now to have bipolar disorder? Is it fashionable or glamorous in some way? Recently, there appears to have been an increased awareness of bipolar disorder, at least as a [...]