Hi, my name is Dani and I am living with bipolar 1 disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD. If only walking around with a hello sticker attached to my forehead was so simple and didn’t come with awkward looks.
Well, here is a look into my story.
Growing up in an environment with a manic mother, ongoing mental, physical, and emotional abuse, on top of constant household chaos was extremely toxic to my mental health. I have a family history of alcoholism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and unfortunately, mental health issues were never openly discussed. Intoxicating highs followed by the depressive lows became a “normal” part of my reality.
I experienced my first panic attack at an early age, struggled with bulimia, self-harm and suicidal thoughts starting at just 15-years-old. In January 2016, I finally decided to seek psychiatric help and was then officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. I went through periods where I would schedule an appointment, only to cancel due to feeling ashamed or embarrassed. I knew it was time to face the trauma I’ve hidden for so long.
I am currently dedicated to my weekly therapy sessions and regular visits with my psychiatrist. I’ve created a daily wellness routine, which has proven to be beneficial in my mental health journey. I wake up and start my morning with meditation, adaptogenic protein tea and a brain smoothie, followed by my herbal supplements and medications. Living with multiple mental illnesses has forced me to take better care of myself. I now have an entirely renewed perspective on life and living. Some days, I wake up with the weight of panic crushing my chest. Some days, I won’t have the energy to get out of bed, take out the overflowing trash or wash my hair, because depression tells me no. Some days, the intrusive thoughts will try to take over. Every day brings its own set of challenges, but I am confident in my strength and capability of surviving those dark moments.
My life will never be the same. For so long I felt alone, misunderstood and “crazy”. To finally have an answer after so many years of spiraling out of control, is a relief. Looking back on broken relationships, impulsive behavior and emotions drowned by drugs, alcohol and promiscuity shows how much I’ve learned throughout my journey.
As advocates, we have to continue sharing our truths, this is the only way we can continue to break the stigma towards mental illness. I have a deeper appreciation for the smallest of things. I take joy in things I easily took for granted before. Everyday isn’t perfect, but I am grateful for my growth.
I’ve learned to be more patient with myself, my mental health and my healing journey.
#dontcallmecrazy. My name is Dani and I have #bipolardisorder, #generalizedanxietydisorder, and #PTSD, but they do not have me.
- Dani Pope, 2018