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When It Came Time to Accept My Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Accepting my diagnosis of bipolar 1 disorder did not come easy. It assigned a term to every act I ever committed, to every emotion I ever endured. At times, it made me question who I was from day one of my life. Not knowing I had an illness in itself made it hard for me to accept the disorder — you can’t accept something you don’t know you have. It took about a year for the realization that I was living with an illness to really sink in. I think having to take medication on a daily and nightly basis finally drove the point home. With time, I came to know more about my illness, and as the days in the psychiatric hospital where I was diagnosed fell behind me, I felt myself returning to my “normal” self again, or at least something that felt close to normal.

I began accepting my diagnosis.

Accepting having to take medication for the rest of my life is still something I struggle with today. I find myself 17 years later, my biological clock ticking and my desire to have a family more prominent than ever. Being on the kind of medication I am on complicates my situation tremendously. To wean myself off of my medication in order to bear a child poses an enormous risk. I could have another breakdown, fall back into cyclic anxiety and depression or be subjected to chaotic mania yet again. 

Truth is, who really knows what would happen? It is a problem numerous women with mental illnesses and on medication must face. Do you accept your current situation, let go of your dream of having a baby in order to avoid all risks of endangering your sanity? Or do you take a chance, determine your love for a growing baby inside you will be enough to keep you from slipping away from reality? How much do you trust yourself to step aside and let logic win say, if you were to get pregnant and all your hormones are drowning out that logic? 

Apart from accepting my diagnosis and the fact that I will need to take medication for the rest of my life, there is another kind of acceptance that comes to mind. It is accepting the realization that I am not immune to falling again. No matter how many times I get sick and get well again, no matter how great my life may seem to be going and how stable I seem to be, I have come to terms with the reality that another relapse or breakdown could very well occur. It’s an ongoing battle. But I know I can’t be afraid to live my life. Knowing there will always be trips and falls along the way, I immediately combat with the knowledge that I have the ability to overcome and soldier on. I have done so in the past, and I can do it again.

And once I can accept that knowledge, knowing I have it in me to fight, there is no reason I cannot live a full amazing life even with this illness. I will keep soldiering on. I will keep fighting the fight. I have come this far. 

Getty image via skyNext

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