When did you first realize you were struggling with Bipolar 2 / PTSD? What was your first line of action when it came to conquering it?
I knew that I was struggling with something when I was about 10 years old but I wasn’t open to receiving help until I was 25. I told my now husband that I was feeling suicidal, so he helped me find a therapist in the area.
What does your Bipolar and PTSD look and feel like?
Bipolar and PTSD look like a sometimes terrifying secret that I know about, but don’t have the language to tell anyone else about it. Bipolar 2, when I am not stable, feels like I am in a tunnel with no entrance or no exit. When I am stable, it still feels like I’m in a tunnel, but I can see the light at the end of it. It’s not a lot of light but it’s enough to give me the feeling that I am on the road to recovery. PTSD, on the other hand, feels like someone is stacking encyclopedias on my chest. It feels palpable, it feels deafening, and at times, it feels unbearable, but therapy and my medication help me work through those hard moments
How do you prioritize your mental-health? What are a few wellness tools or practices you use to manage your mental-health?
In order to prioritize my mental health, I have set boundaries for myself and for those around me. I make sure to advocate for my needs and ask my support system for help. I also make sure I keep my therapy appointment and try not to cancel them out of fear.
Therapy is my saving grace. Having a black woman therapist who is spiritual has changed my life. Through her assistance, I have added many practical and spiritual tools to help me get through each day. I use prescribed medication, journaling, meditation, singing, crystals, tarot cards, and my ancestor altar to help me manage my mental-health.
How do your loved ones react to your mental-health?
Not everyone knows about what I have going on because quite frankly, it’s none of their business. Those who are privy to it, are a part of my support system and seem to be very supportive. My husband is the most supportive of them all. He makes sure that he shows up for me when I can’t show up for myself, and has no problem calling my therapist when I am in a crisis. He has gone to sessions with me, read up on my diagnosis, and has asked me from the beginning of my journey how he can support me best.
Share one piece of advice for someone in the thick of their mental-health journey:
Sometimes people don’t know what to say, and what they might say to you at this moment can seem contrite. I can’t tell you when it will get better or how to make it better, but I can tell you to take it one second at a time. What you are experiencing is so real and although I’m sure you’ve heard this before — YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you need someone, and you’re reading this, I can hold space for you as you go through the thick of it.