Twenty years ago, most people didn’t know what I was talking about when I said I had bipolar disorder. These days it’s in the news regularly, with people sharing their diagnoses and experiences. Mental illness still has a stigma attached to it, and it was a difficult decision to make public that I have bipolar disorder when I published Magical Shrinking. Once it’s out there, that’s it, you can’t pull it back.
Luckily I’m okay with everyone knowing that I’ve got bipolar disorder. This is how I choose to fight stigma – by telling my story and letting people know that there is hope for recovery.
I had no idea how serious the diagnosis of bipolar disorder was at 19-years-old. To have a bottle of lithium in my hands felt scary. But it explained why I'd had such serious issues for years -- impulsivity, depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, grandiosity, extreme agitation, and periods of obsessive activity without sleep.
Fighting the diagnosis and hoping for a normal life didn't work out. Instead, I couldn't stay in college because I didn't care, either because I wanted to die or because I felt too brilliant to need a degree. If I wasn't obsessed with how to kill myself, I was writing page after page of my master plan to change the world. There was rarely any balance between mood swings.
Read more about my story on Huffington Post Health.
If you’re here from the Huffington Post article, please check out my website: http://www.christianewells.com. Blogging about bipolar disorder has been my mission for nearly a year now, and with each post I’m trying to reduce stigma by educating others about this illness.
Thank you to Gina Misiroglu for helping me to share my story with Huffington Post. Gina and Red Room work hard for writers, providing authors a place to connect and get their writing out into the world. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but thanks to Red Room, I’ve found a community where I can contribute and get to know other readers and writers.