Hannah s Story
North Carolina, USA
"My name is Hannah. I am a blogger and mental health influencer on mediated platforms. I discuss topics regarding mental health, stigma, and share parts of my journey as a young adult living with a mental illness.
I was barely 20-years-old when I was involuntarily placed in a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder. It was there where my story began, and my path in life changed forever.
I walked out of the psychiatric hospital as a different girl with a different mission in life. However, I was unsure at the time what that mission would be. When I left the hospital, I hid my diagnosis
from the majority of my family and friends.
According to society, mental illness was something I should be ashamed of, and it limited my chances of succeeding in life. As I learned, later on, this is untrue.
When I was 24 years old, I decided to go back to College and volunteer for the local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). At the beginning of getting involved with the mental health community, I kept quiet about my story. As time went on, I finally revealed my diagnosis of Bipolar 2 Disorder and was encouraged to speak publicly about it.
Although I hesitated, something inside of me said it was the right thing to do, so I went forward with opening up about it. The mix of getting involved with mental health and working towards my degree in media communication led to creating my blog Halfway2Hannah* where I came forward publicly about my experience living with Bipolar 2 Disorder.
It has been eight years since being released from the hospital, filled with ups-and-downs, mistakes and finding my authentic self. I am sincere, raw, and unapologetic. I do not pretend to be perfect or the ideal mental health patient. I would not live without bipolar if I had the choice. Although I blame bipolar disorder for my struggle, I also credit it for my success in life. I will not be cured of bipolar disorder, nor do I want to be. Bipolar disorder does not define me, but it is a significant part of who I am.
My mission is to empower individuals who live with a mental illness. We live in a world where we are told that being different makes us flawed. However, I believe that being different makes us beautiful. I want to inspire individuals to share their story and realize they should not feel ashamed. I want those of us living with a mental illness to talk about what we love about ourselves and what makes us capable of doing great things in this world.
Our confidence exists within us, but it is difficult to find when we are always told it does not exist. I want people with a mental illness to fall in love with everything about themselves, especially the parts that, for so long, we have been told make us flawed and unlovable. Our truth is our beauty, and it deserves to be shared with the world.
Life without a story is no life at all. My story includes the mind I was born with; the part of me that I have learned to love. This is my wish for others living with a mental illness."
*Halfway2Hannah shares not only Hannah's experience, but the story of others living with a mental illness. Hannah blogs about everything mental health-related, including the way social media can be used as a tool for communication and advocacy. She is the HealthyPlace.com YouTube vlogger and author of the blog, 'I'm Bipolar Too.' She hopes to achieve many things in the future as a mental health advocate and writer.