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To the Doctor I Hated for Diagnosing Me With Bipolar Disorder

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When you walked into my room in the mental health unit of the hospital, I was afraid of you. I was afraid you would see me as this “crazy” young girl who tried to kill herself, not as the hurt and desperate young woman I was. I was afraid of what you would say because I knew it would determine if I stayed in the hospital or went home with my mom. I was terrified of what your diagnosis would be; you would be the one to tell me what was wrong with me and how I could be fixed.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I hated you for diagnosing me bipolar. I was in completely denial, I was angry and I felt like you were personally responsible for ruining my life. I swore you were wrong and that you didn’t take the appropriate time to talk to me to be able to diagnose. I made up excuses why I couldn’t be bipolar and why you didn’t know what you were talking about. I rolled my eyes at you whenever we met, I shut you out and I didn’t listen to your words that could have helped me cope.

When I finally began to accept my diagnosis and go through treatment for it, I slowly began to forgive you. I realized my diagnosis didn’t just magically appear out of nowhere, and it was something I had been dealing with for a long time. You were just the first to give what I was dealing with a name. Bipolar. When you diagnosed me, you explained my illness, its symptoms and how I could be treated, but I didn’t listen. I wish I would have, and maybe I would have come to accept this new diagnosis sooner. Accepting I am bipolar brought me peace and made me a fighter.

You were my coach. You conditioned me on how to battle my diagnosis so it wouldn’t control me. You gave me medication, listened when I talked about my symptoms and taught me a variety of coping skills. Thank you for enduring my abuse before I understood, and thank you for staying positive and realistic even when I wasn’t. You are the one who led me into battle when I was ready and trained me to fight the enemy. Thank you for equipping me with the skills I needed to live with bipolar disorder and not become bipolar disorder.

Thank you for reminding me I am not my illness. Thank you for showing me the statistics of how many people in the world have bipolar disorder, so I didn’t feel so alone. Thank you for meeting with me whenever I thought my medication was causing problems, and thank you for quickly fixing them. Thank you for allowing me to admit myself to the hospital for a second time and supporting me through my stay. Thank you for telling me this step back does not mean a full regression and for reminding me everyone needs a little extra help to get back on track.

Thank you for letting me hate you. I needed somewhere to place the blame when you first diagnosed me. You knew you needed to be that person because if it hadn’t of been you, it would have been my parents, and you knew I would need them. Thank you for reassuring my parents I would be OK and that you would be there to answer any questions they had. It meant a lot to me that you included them in my treatment — because they also hated you at first. Keeping them close and informed helped them understand what was happening.

I appreciate you and everything you’ve done for me since I was diagnosed. You’ve managed my medication, tracked my moods and given me counsel when I’ve needed it. Thank you for diagnosing me and waiting patiently for me to accept that diagnosis so we could both fight it together. Thank you for giving me the resources and the courage to fight. I promise I will continue to do so. And I will not let you down.


Originally published: June 2, 2016
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