Living With Bipolar II Disorder and Beating Covid - Bria's Story
For today's Wellness Wednesday Blog, my friend Bria is sharing her story with us about living with Bipolar II Disorder. She talks about how living with bipolar II has allowed her to become the resilient and strong person that she is today, and has helped her find self love.
The Healthy Life Planner was made not only to help people with chronic illnesses, but also help people who struggle with mental health keep track of their daily emotions, find gratitude, and have spaces to journal. As Bria mentions, the Healthy Life Planner is also a great tool to have during the Covid pandemic. It makes it easy to check in with yourself daily and keep track of how you are feeling.
I hope you find Bria's story as inspirational as I did. 💕
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Hi! My name is Bria. A little about me - I am a 27-year-old Executive Assistant. I live in Boston with my dog Dixie.
What is the name of your condition? Tell us a bit about it.
Anyone else who deals with mental illness knows, it is not always as straight forward as naming a condition especially with the stigmatism involved. The DSM-5 is ever changing and evolving with society and science. I have:
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
- Bipolar II Disorder
Most people have a base understanding around anxiety disorders and PTSD, however bipolar disorders are misunderstood given the stigmatism's surround them. There are the types of bipolar disorder: Bipolar I disorder involves periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression. Bipolar II disorder is a milder form of mood elevation, involving milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression.
Bipolar II is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Patients usually seek help when they are in a depressed state, or when their hypomanic symptoms manifest themselves in unwanted effects, such as high levels of anxiety, or the seeming inability to focus on tasks. Because many of the symptoms of hypomania are often mistaken for high functioning behavior or simply attributed to personality, patients are typically not aware of their hypomanic symptoms. In addition, many people who suffer from Bipolar II have periods of normal affect. As a result, when patients seek help, they are very often unable to provide their doctor with all the information needed for an accurate assessment; these individuals are often misdiagnosed with unipolar depression.
At what age were you diagnosed, and how did you handle getting the news?
I have struggled with mental illness ever since I can remember, from a young age I can recall being overcome with panic in social situations and being overwhelmed by the trauma in my world. I formally began the diagnoses process at the age of 13, though I was not fully aware at the time, all I knew is that I had to go to a doctor and a therapist constantly.
Over the next eight years, throughout the prime years of my youth I subjected to every treatment under the sun. Therapy, DBT, Medication, Hospitals, Behavioral Modification, Residential Treatment, you name it… I’ve been there done that and from start to finish I was misdiagnosed. All this to say, I was RELIEVED to finally receive a diagnosis that made sense to me.
How has it affected your life and how has living with your illness made you a stronger person?
Living with mental health disorders has affected every aspect of my life, at the lowest points I have lost the desire to live, but with the pain and darkness there also is beauty. I would not change anything I have had to deal with, because I love who I am and the life I have built today. I have gained an incredible resilience; I have a grounding relationship with myself and a tribe of incredible women in my life.
How will the Healthy Life Planner help you manage your illness in 2021?
I tend to be super type A when it comes to organizing, lists and calendars are not only what I do for a living as an executive assistant but are also how I keep my life on track! I’m excited to have a location for everything I need to keep myself on track. In this new COVID world we live in it can be so hard to see the progress we are making in our lives, so having a dedicated place for goals I will be able to feel the reward of getting things done!
Do you have any words of advise for others going through the same thing as you?
YOU ARE NOT YOUR DIAGNOSIS. It is so important to remember it does not define you and that you are not alone in what you are dealing with. Find your community, find you tribe, even if it is online, it is so worth it!
I know you are one of the many people who have suffered from Coronavirus. How do you think the Healthy Life Planner could have helped you during that time, and in what ways do you think it could benefit others who have or have had Coronavirus?
I had Coronavirus the first two weeks of March 2020, and it kicked by butt! The Healthy Life Planner would have been a great resource for me to have. I needed to track my symptoms, temperatures, while battling extreme fatigue, and report these all back to doctors, CDC, etc. it would have been helpful to have a central location for all of this. Not to mention it would have been nice to see an inspirational quote or two to make it through the days!
Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for people who are currently sick with Coronavirus?
Don’t be afraid to call people, ask for help, stay connected and REST REST REST!
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If you, or someone you know, would like to share your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org