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Claire's Story

Bellingham, Washington USA

"Being diagnosed with Bipolar ll Disorder came as both a blessing and a curse. My life suddenly made sense; the highs and lows had an explanation attached. There was finally a name to my confusion over the years; there was a name to the struggle that no one saw.


Once diagnosed, things seemed to get harder before they got easier. To my dismay, once they got easier, they began to get hard again; I am learning that it is the cycle of my recovery. 


Throughout the last year, I became destructive toward myself both physically and emotionally. I sank into a period of depression. I began self-harming and distanced myself from those closest to me because I was concerned that I would burden them with my hardships. These are things I am still fighting with daily, and yet am working to accept my reality and use it as a strength rather than a weakness. 


I have struggled to understand that medication doesn’t make me weak or less than the individual next to me. I am learning that my recovery cannot begin until I am honest with myself and my support system. 


The mask that I paste on each morning to make my life seem picturesque has been my defense mechanism for years. I am working hard to allow myself to accept a bad day rather than convince myself that I shouldn’t have one. With that, I am learning how to manage a bad day in a healthy way that doesn’t hurt myself or emotionally damage those closest to me. 


Some days are harder than others. But, no matter my mood, I am grateful to have a support system as my extra backbone. There are people in my life who have helped me believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been blessed to be surrounded by people who have shown me that I can still laugh so hard that my stomach hurts, that I can still love with my whole heart, that I can still be successful in my areas of passion, and that has helped me see that there are brighter days ahead. 


I am learning that my scars fading is a sign of strength, not a reason to make more. Each day I remind myself that I shine brighter than even the darkest of my shadows. While some may look down on my diagnoses as a weakness, I believe that although my diagnoses label me as mentally ill, to me it has become the start of my bright future."