Most of my life I have gravitated towards all things creative. From having an outrageous imagination as a child to majoring in Marketing and Advertising as an adult after growing up gravitating towards drawing, painting, and creating as much as possible as well as journaling religiously up until adulthood I can safely say creative activities were my outlet. I not only enjoyed engaging in these activities, they seemed to come natural to me and I excelled in these areas.

I also battled depression starting in my teens that went misdiagnosed the majority of my life. Luckily this did not interfere with my love of expression through creativity or my ability to do so. Then in my late 30’s that all changed. I was dealt a few hard blows in short order; the loss of my grandmother whom I regarded as my second mother, a new boss at work that I’m convinced was the devil incarnate and a cancer scare with my father. I became overwhelmed by everything and went into a deep depression, I left my job and became a housewife full time. Even this didn’t hamper my creativity, I had bouts of mania that resulted in a children's book I submitted to an editor yet never followed through on, I helped several friends market their new businesses through the naming process and interior design. I was on fire. Then things took a dark turn; I started staying up for days at a time full of energy and ideas followed by a crash so epic I would sleep for days. Things continued to escalate to the point where my husband was on the brink of leaving me and taking the kids. From the outside it looked like I was abusing drugs and alcohol which I completely understand. You see my husband never had to deal with depression first hand. When I tried to convey what I was feeling I got the standard “What do you have to be depressed about?”. I knew it was time to get help so I booked my appointment with a psychiatrist who diagnosed me as Bipolar 1 with psychotic features. I immediately started with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to go along with my new medication regimen.

The medication after a few changes finally worked like a miracle. I was stable. But I lost interest in everything that brought me joy before. I stopped painting, drawing, reading, journaling, crafting with my kids became a nuisance rather than a joy.

My therapist is the sole reason I am slowly getting back to expressing myself through creativity. I cannot stress the importance of getting into therapy in addition to taking your meds. My therapist helped to change my outlook in so many aspects of my life. He also drilled into me the importance of getting out my feelings through expression, my expression being creativity. I now take the time to sketch, to paint, to write and to take joy in being creative with my children. These things are necessary to keep your life in balance, you must continue to feed your soul after your diagnosis. Take time to do things that matter to you and benefit yourself because coming to terms with having Bipolar can be scary and often take over your life. It doesn’t have to, you are not the diagnosis you are a unique individual with interests, talents and a life yet lived full of wonderful possibilities. Take back the things that brought you joy and make a concentrated effort to fit those things into your life whenever possible. You may start small but continue to make the effort it’s therapeutic and a big step towards being the best version of yourself when you feel like that person is gone. Reclaim your life like I’ve reclaimed my creativity.