Angela B. is most passionate about overcoming the stigma associated with bipolar II disorder and all other mental health diseases.
She puts forth effort by educating and speaking out about her own struggles with these conditions. Here Angela shares who and what have been her greatest support through her health journey and gives advice to anyone newly diagnosed with a mental health condition.
This story mentions suicide attempts and other mental health struggles, and may be triggering to some of our readers. If you or someone you know would like to speak with a trained counselor, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Angela’s Experiences with Mental Health
I [suddenly] became extremely depressed and anxious. My moods would change so quickly that it affected my life. People close to me thought I was being dramatic and told me to cheer up. I was really isolated and alone, so in my desperation I attempted suicide. [I attempted suicide] more than once.
The sad fact is that misdiagnosis, ignorance and misinformation is common [in the mental health space] and you have to listen to your body and mind [for guidance].
Support Systems and Negative Thoughts
Bipolar II disorder support groups on Facebook, hospitalizations, a couple of close friends and my husband [have been my greatest support system]. [I would also include] my psychiatrist and therapist (although it’s very very difficult to find one with much empathy). I generally feel like just another patient–an annoyance. This just feeds [my] negative thoughts that I am crazy, it’s all in my head and I’m not important. But it’s not me, it’s the number of patients these doctors see. It’s so hard not to take everything personally. Negative thoughts run rampant and are the hardest for me to control. They breed more depression, more anxiety, more paranoia and negative self worth–all of which are destructive and at the root of [my] suffering.
Advice and Inspiration
Speak out to someone. Find someone who will listen. There are a lot of suicide hotlines, crisis hotlines and people like me who care and understand. You are NOT alone. Remember to listen to your body. If you feel like you aren’t getting better, tell your doctor. Don’t suffer in silence. It’s better to do something to help yourself than [doing] nothing. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. I have major anxiety when I have doctor appointments so my husband comes to lend moral support. Ask someone you trust to come along. Even if they wait on the car or waiting room, you will feel safer and have someone familiar there when it’s over.
Your feelings are so real and should be validated not just pushed aside. It’s ok to feel bad one day and great the next. Speak out on those days you feel good, help one person a day, one good deed a day. You are important, you are special and you have something to offer this world.
Angela B. – Orlando, FL
Diagnosed with bipolar 2, GAD, SAD. PTSD, MDD and OCD
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