Hi, I’m Natasha Tracy. I’m a mental health speaker and writer and I want you to know if you’ve been newly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, you’ve got this. Bipolar Disorder does not have to define you and it does not have to define your life. You can move forward and you can achieve the goals that you want to in your lifetime. And I think that you should listen, you should learn, and you should share.

So, you need to listen to yourself and you need to listen to others. Specifically, you need to listen to what your symptoms are, what your personality is, what the side effects are, what the medication is. You need to learn how to differentiate these feelings inside of yourself because you are not your illness. It may feel all jumbled up like a bowl of spaghetti right now, but really it’s not like that and by listening to yourself, you’ll learn to differentiate.

And then learn. It is very difficult to have a lifelong debilitating disorder, but it is even more difficult to have a lifelong disorder that you don’t understand. So, it’s critical that you learn that you learn about Bipolar Disorder. Go to quality sources of information and learn what you can when you can. Ask questions of your doctor. Learn, learn;because knowledge is power and knowledge will dispel so many of the fears that you have about this disorder.

And finally, share. Share what you’ve learned;share what you’ve heard with your loved ones. You don’t have to tell them all at once, but pick someone who you know loves you who you know will support you and start to tell them about what’s going on for you. Because you need those supports to get through this difficult time in your life. And you, of course, also need to be completely open and share with your healthcare professionals. They can’t help you if you don’t give them the right information.

Finally, remember that this is not the end. Bipolar Disorder is not the end of your life. This is just a new beginning. I’m Natasha Tracy.

Hi everyone. I’m Nicole and I am the creator of the BipolarStateofBeing blog and also the BipolarStateofBeing channel on YouTube. I created both of those close to four years ago when I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I have struggled with bipolar symptoms for almost as long back as I can remember, even to my early teen years, but I did not receive an official diagnosis until I was 27 when I had a severe manic episode and I was hospitalized. After that, I really began the journey towards learning about Bipolar because, even though for years I had suspected that I had Bipolar, I didn’t really know much about it other than it was depression and mania and mood swings and that sort of thing. I didn’t really know what it entailed and so after I first was diagnosed, it was really a confusing time because I didn’t want to be seen as the “crazy girl” but that’s not what Bipolar is. Just because you have Bipolar, does not make you a crazy person at all. It’s a disorder and lots of people have it and lots of people are able to live full and happy and successful lives even with Bipolar Disorder. So, that is something that I have learned along my journey these last few years and I really think there are a few pivotal things that you can do for yourself if you have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and you are finding yourself in that same boat that I was in;confused, and lost, and not knowing what to do.

I think the biggest thing that you can do for yourself is learn everything you can about it because you are your best advocate. The more you learn about Bipolar, the more you learn about yourself, about your triggers, about how everything in your life affects you, about how Bipolar affects your life, the better off you will be. That, I think, is the single most important thing because knowledge is power. It is empowering to learn all of these things to better your life situation rather than just throwing up your hands and saying ‘This is my lot in life’ because it’s not. You can make it better. You don’t have to just accept that things will be bad because they won’t necessarily be bad. Yes, it will be difficult and you’re going to have ups and downs, that’s just part of the disorder, but like I say, you can live a successful and happy life and, going along with learning, you really need a good support system. That is definitely key. Wherever it may be that you find that support, whether its friends, family, counselors, psychiatrists, online groups, support groups within your community, whatever means that you find, which I’ve used all of those at some point in time, it’s really important to have people that have your back, too;that you know that can support you through those ups and downs and that aren’t going to judge you and that are going to be understanding of you.

So, I think those are the two most important things you can do. Empower yourself, learn about it, be your best advocate that you can and do the best you can in life because you can, you have the power, and you’ve got this.

Hi. My name is Karl and I live with Bipolar Disorder. I’ve been living with Bipolar Disorder for about 33 years and, you know, it’s been very interesting during this time. When I was first diagnosed, one of the main problems I had was I was using drugs and alcohol, so that was causing a lot of problems for me. I was lacking a lot of insight and acceptance into my disease. I didn’t know, really, what the problem was, I didn’t know why things were happening the way they were, and I didn’t make any real connection between the two. So, for me, the first many years, it was just finding out what I needed to do in order to maintain my recovery. I always wanted to get better but I didn’t know how. And, so I had to rely on a lot of the people that I was around to help me, I did go through counseling, I eventually got into 12 step fellowship work and as a result of stopping my using, that certainly helped my ability to learn more about my disease and to learn more about what it took to stay healthy.

When that happened, it’s very difficult;I eventually learned a few things to help myself stay healthy, kind of like exercise, taking medication, getting proper rest. All these things are pertinent elements of my recovery program, so when it comes down to it, if I had known then what I know now about staying healthy. Fortunately, even though I did go through a number of years of bouncing around from institutions and hospitals, I eventually was able to stabilize myself. My last hospitalization was actually in 1995, so it’s been a good while since I’ve had any trouble.

So, the main thing to understand is that it is possible to recover from Bipolar Disorder and it’s not like you’ll be cured, but if anything, it is a disease that can be managed and it is possible to have a successful and productive life. I’ve met other people who have the same illness and they’ve done the same thing, but of course, it takes a lot of work and it takes some effort to figure out what works for you. There are some common denominators that people use to stay healthy, but the main thing is to find out what works for you and to stick with it. For instance, if you take medication, certainly don’t stop taking it on your own. Work with your psychiatrist, work with someone that can help you with that. If you’re having difficulty with side effects, whatever, sometimes those things just need to be adjusted, they need to be tweaked. I had to learn that, also, the hard way. For myself, it’s been a matter of being about to discover what works, what doesn’t, and believing that there is hope. That’s one of the things that I had to learn is that it is possible to recover from this disease and maintain some sense of stability. My support system is very valuable. Having someone to talk to, having someone there who can help me, that’s also been valuable. The main thing to remember is that there is always hope. If you can believe that you can do this, you can. If you make the effort to do what you need to do, it certainly is possible, so stay positive, stay healthy, and thanks for watching.

When people look at me, they see this young guy who’s outgoing, has an amazing supportive girlfriend, has an amazing family, has all these things, and my life seems totally perfect. But what they don’t know is that I have Type II Bipolar Disorder and the reason that is is because I never wear a mask and I seem happy on the outside and the reason that I reached the happiness is due to a mixture of talk therapy, medications, and also just accepting my disorder. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to accept it because if you start denying it, it’s just going to get harder and harder and harder. But once you reach that step of acceptance, it’s like everything changes, everything gets better, everything starts getting more positive, you start feeling better, you don’t seem down anymore, it seems like nothing can bring you down. Because us people that are mentally ill, I consider us to be the most strongest people on this earth because it takes a lot for us to overcome but we always do. We have the heart of a lion. We are the strongest humans on earth. Now, I’ve overcome so much and I’m sure you guys can overcome even more because deep down here, we are strong. Always remember that, you are strong. No matter what anybody tells you because not many people can handle this. But we can. We have overcome. Now, if I can do it, I know you can, too. You know why? Because I know you’ve got this. I’ve got this. You’ve got this.

Hi, this is Jon Press. I’m a blogger with BP magazine for Bipolar and I’m here to tell you you’ve got this. Twenty-five years ago when I was first diagnosed, I went into a psychiatrist’s office. I was having difficulty even putting complete sentences together. I was staying up all night long, spending all my money, and then I would sleep all day long missing classes and causing my grades to suffer. At that time, the psychiatrist that I was seeing gave me two prescriptions and a diagnosis and sent me on my way. I didn’t know who to ask for information, there was no coaching available, and there was no internet.

With the right treatment, medications, and support I’m able to live without crippling depression, I’m able to think clearly, I’m able to have deep and meaningful relationships, I’m able to hold down a job and live a life that I never imagined that I would be able to.

I really encourage you to educate yourself. There are great online resources, there are forums, there are groups you can join;there are lots of books by authors that are candid about their experience. I would also encourage you to get connected. There are great local groups all over the country, connecting with organizations through the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, and faith-based groups like Fresh Hope. Also, I would encourage you to make friendships with other folks who are living well with Bipolar Disorder. I would encourage you to stick with your treatment protocol. Getting the right balance of medication is not an exact science and it can take some time. You need to become a fierce advocate for yourself, keep going back and telling the doctor if you are experiencing side effects and be encouraged knowing that there are new treatments just around the corner.

A few years ago, after stopping my medication, yet again, and denying my diagnosis, I found myself committed to a mental hospital. It was the scariest experience of my life and probably the most painful. Part of that pain was seeing the look of fear and confusion on my children’s faces. So, after that experience, I became fiercely committed to my own recovery journey. This time, not only for myself but also for my family because it costs them as well.

I never would have guessed that just a few years later, I would be a mental health advocate and I would be blogging for a magazine like BP. I would encourage you to selectively share your story with others who can support you and you’ll often find that when you take the first step, someone else will say, ‘Hey, me too,’ or ‘I have a loved one with that diagnosis’. I never thought I would share my story, but I’m doing so because I want to tell you that you’re not alone, that you can feel better, you’ve got this.

Hello, I’m Charlie Roberts. I’m 43 years old and I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder isn’t a fun disorder to have. It’s got debilitating lows and euphoric highs. The euphoric highs do the most damage, yet the debilitating lows do the worst damage. You have to get through them both to the happy medium again and you know that when you come out of low, you’re going to go into a high and when you come out of a high, you’re going to go into a low. So, if you start a course of medication, persevere, stick with it. You might have to change a little bit;there are some accommodations to medications. So persevere with that. Some medications will make you look like a solid dodger, some will make you look like you leaner than a sparrow’s knee-cap, but it’s the head that matters. You can work on the body afterwards. Easy for me to say, I’m leaner than a sparrow’s knee-cap.

As for love, bipolar love. It ain’t no ordinary love, so hopefully you have a partner that understands and is well-educated on how Bipolar affects people and relationships. All in all, Bipolar, would I wish I never had it? No, if I had the choice, would I want it or not? Now I’ve got it, yeah, thank you, I’m keeping it. For the creativity side of it, you’re the life and soul of the party, it’s got its fantastic points, but life is a balance. It also has it’s really bad points as well.

I just want to say well done, congratulations, for being here, to watch this video, and you’ve got this. So, as I say, you’ve got this.

Hi. My name is Amanda and I have been diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder. I was diagnosed almost two and a half years ago. When I was diagnosed, I felt surreal, like it wasn’t really happening. I felt scared, I felt alone, I felt confused, I didn’t know what to make of any of it. However, I decided that I was going to try and figure it out, so I created a YouTube channel called MoodDisorderedMind where I decided to just talk about my experience and what I was going through so I could try to figure things out for myself. And I did a lot of research on the topic, different aspects of the topic, and I learned a lot about the disorder and myself. And for me, learning about the disorder, learning about myself, talking about it, just those things alone really helped me be able to cope with having this disorder.

I would tell anyone who has been recently diagnosed not to focus on the name;it doesn’t really matter what it’s called. The important thing is that you recognize your symptoms, you recognize triggers, you recognize anything that has to do with this disorder and how it affects you. You learn how to deal with the symptoms, how to manage the symptoms, or even how to stop the symptoms from coming on, especially through triggers. Because in the end, that is what is important is learning how to cope and manage and live your life with this disorder.

So, I would just say learn as much as you can and don’t dwell on having Bipolar Disorder. Focus on getting the treatment and help that you need and learning how to deal with it, whether it’s through a support group, counseling, reading books, whatever. Because you are the only one that can decide what’s best for you, if you know what you’re doing, if you know what you’re talking about, if you understand yourself, then it makes it that much easier to live with this disorder.

Alright, I hope that was helpful and just know that you are not alone. There are many of us out here. You’ve got this. We’ve all got this.

Hi. My name is Ray. I live in Amsterdam. I have Bipolar II Disorder. I originally got diagnosed with depression in 2004. In 2012, it turned out that the diagnosis was not correct. But when I got diagnosed with Bipolar, I didn’t get much information other than Bipolar II, rapid cycling, go home. I was terrified. I felt my life was over, that I was crazy. I knew how to be depressed very well, but I didn’t know what Bipolar was. What I wish I knew then was you get better, which it did. It took me months to find the right medication, the right dosages , everyday getting out of bed without help. But the months passed by and I slowly realized I was getting better. I read books, blogs, and forums. I spoke to others with this same disorder. I asked questions. This was the most important thing, to find out as much as I could about the disorder and my fears gradually went away. I’m writing a book of my own now to share this knowledge I found to hopefully make others feel less afraid.

It’s been almost two years. I am medicated, I’ve completed therapy, and I feel good. I have accepted this disorder, this is the card that I have been dealt in life and I’m going to play it as well as I can. I no longer spend sleepless nights or need 45 minutes to put on socks. My emotions have not been flattened. I feel happiness and I feel sadness, but now when I feel them, they make sense.

Best advice that I can give you: listen to your doctors, take the medications you’ve been prescribed, do not self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. It will seriously mess up whatever prescriptions you’ve been given. If you get side effects, let your doctor know. If you’re medication is not working, let your doctor know. If you’re not feeling well, if you’re gaining too much weight, if it makes you depressed, let your doctor know. And if you’re doctor ignores what you tell them, change your doctor. You are your own best advocate when it comes to your mental health. Keep yourself as the most important person in your life. Be kind to yourself. Fight for your interests. And remember, you’re not crazy, you’re just bipolar.

I spent most of my life wishing I could be like everybody else. I didn’t understand how come everybody else could live their lives so normal and I couldn’t. I thought I’m not doing something well enough. I need to work harder or be even nicer to people, or whatever else it was, I wasn’t doing it well. But it turns out, I wasn’t feeling normal because I wasn’t normal, I was bipolar. This discovery has relieved me so much. I’m not like everybody else. I’m special and so are you. We are not average and we will never be, but have you ever heard of an actor getting an award for being the most average person in the movie. This is the card we got, let’s play it really well. Between you and me, you’ve got this.

Hi, my name is Rebecca Moore and I am the author of More Storms: A Guide for the Bipolar Parent. I wrote that book two years ago, about a year after I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. When I was diagnosed, I was pregnant with our seventh child and they put me on medication, I was scared, and I was confused, and I was lost. But, I listened to my doctor, I took my medication like I was supposed to, I talked about everything that I had going on in my head in therapy, and I made sure I was getting enough sleep and I was eating right.

By doing all of those things and writing a book and putting my life in that book, I reached out to help other people and by doing so, I was able to heal from the inside out. And you’ll be able to, too, because you’ve just got to follow this strict routine. You’ve got it. You’ll be okay.

So, the point of this is to just encourage you. One, stay positive. This isn’t something that can be fixed overnight. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not abnormal because you’re feeling these things. It’s not your fault.

Two, allow people to love you. I know it’s hard, especially when you’re in your downs. You don’t feel love or worthy or any of those things, but you are.

Three, remember that you are loved and that there are so many people who care about you and who want to see you overcome this and succeed and do great things with your life because you were made for great things. Now, I know you’re thinking, ‘Who is this kid? He doesn’t know what I’m going through. He doesn’t know these things?’

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder not too long ago actually. And everything started making sense why sometimes I was doing okay and sometimes I wasn’t. And then I started getting help and I realized I’m not alone and that there are other people who are going through the exact same thing that I am and even if they’re not going through what I’m going through, they’re trying to understand because they love me.

Four, don’t you dare give up. I’ve given up so many times in my life and all it did was destroy me. Giving up isn’t an option. But know that you can overcome this. Bipolar is-it’s just a thing.

The last thing I’m going to tell you is what I wish someone would have told me when I was first diagnosed. It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of effort and it’s not easy, but it’s really, really important to have supporters right behind you that can encourage you along the way and let you know that you can do this. So, stay hopeful and take it one day at a time. Sometimes I have to take it minute by minute, second by second, but right now I’m at a point where I can take it week by week and I’ve come a long way. There is hope. Don’t give up. You’ve got this.

You’ve got this. Bipolar Disorder. My name is Hailey. I may not have bipolar disorder, but I do have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re a helpless passenger on your emotional rollercoaster. We are little boats tossed about at sea, fighting every day just to stay afloat. Do you know what that makes us?

Brave, Powerful, Courageous, Strong, Survivors, Fierce, Resilient, Tough, Amazing, Inspiring, Incredible, Stunning, Fighters

Please visit www.twloha.com for support, help, love, and light. You are not alone.

Hi my name is Andrea, also known as Bipolar Babe in the community and online as well from bipolarbabe.com. So, I’ve been asked by my friend, Natasha Tracy, to do a little video to talk about living with Bipolar Disorder and maybe any tips or advice that I may have.

Well, having been diagnosed 11 years ago, I know a lot about living with Bipolar Disorder and first, for me, comes an entourage. A psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse, a counselor;and to have these people around me when things are rough but also when things are good so I have that security net in place and if I were to ever fall, I’d be caught. As well, I take medications faithfully, which is very important to me. At the same time every day and every night. Granted, a lot of people may not agree with medications, but I do because they really help keep me well and I’ve noticed that I haven’t had a major, major breakdown since I started taking medication 11 years ago.

As well, drinking lots of water is very important for your mental health, as nutrition and of course exercise, that feel good chemical that just keeps you going and makes you feel invigorated and healthy. It’s really, really important.

So, one thing I do as well, to finish off, is I learn about my illness. I go online and I go to good sources, like natashatracy.com is a great source for Bipolar information to know what it is and how it affects you and how you can treat it and how you can take care of yourself because that is possible. So, thank you. This is my little chat and I hope that I somehow helped in a little way. Thank you so much. Take care.

Hey guys, my name is Dallas and I’m part of the To Write Love On Her Arms street team. I just wanted to shoot you guys a word of encouragement today because I know we all face really hard things and sometimes we don’t understand what’s going on or why things happen. That’s okay. Just know that people love you and people are there for you and we just want to encourage you that even though it all doesn’t make sense right now, that there is purpose for everything that happens, that you are not alone, there are people who love you and who are there for you and who want to help you and care for you. We just want o let you know that you’ve got this;that you’re not defeated, that you can do this. We love you and we’re here for you.

Hi guys. My name is Isabel [0:05 Inaudible] I am 17 years old and I am from Mexico. I heard that you have been diagnosed with BD and you may think it really sucks. I haven’t been diagnosed with that issue but I’m pretty sure of two things, okay. Just listen to me for a little bit. First, everyone has fears, the whole humanity has fears. And mine are [:49 Inaudible] No, I’m not joking. But, truly, we also have dreams and if someone wants something, that’s why it’s called a dream, he or she will fight for it. What I’m trying to say is that you are real strong. You are fighters and you are strong and you will make it. Okay? Don’t forget it.

Second part is more difficult. I know you think that this like, ‘Oh shit’. You’ve been diagnosed and someone is telling you that you are different and you’re like, “Holy shit! I’ve been diagnosed.” And you think you’re not worth it, you may think I don’t know how you think or how you feel, but I want you to take this as a bad to you but as a good one. Let me explain this okay.

There are people out there that they don’t know about themselves, they don’t know why they are feeling like that, why they are reacting like that. And then there is you that they just told you what was going on with you, so once you [2:27 Inaudible] to take that knowledge as an advantage because one of the most important things ever is to know yourself. And I know you won’t listen to me if I tell you that the world is magic and the world is perfect. No, I know it’s not like that. And I know you’re going through a bad moment. It’s a moment where you have to accept yourself. It takes time, I know that for other reasons. But it’s not the end of the world. You must be pretty sure of that. And I want you to look to the positive side of all the things, not only this. I want you to look at the positive side of life. I’m not telling you everything is okay. I’ve been talking and saying that, but I want to tell you that you are not alone. I want you to know that;that hope and love will always be there even though you feel hopeless;that you are strong and you can make it, not because you’ve been diagnosed with BD, not because of that. You don’t serve other things. So, that is you, it’s not got to define you, not 100% of this.

As I said, take that knowledge as an advantage, okay. You can make it. Bye. I don’t know what to say. Sorry for my mistakes with no English. It’s not usual in my country and I don’t usually talk, I usually write or read, I don’t talk.

Hi. This video is about Bipolar Disorder. My name is Kelsey and I’m here to tell you that it gets better. I am 19 years old and when I was about 16 or 17, I was diagnosed with depression and that was one of the hardest days of my life. I sat in my car in front of my high school and cried for about an hour before I could even go inside. But it felt like a weight was lifted off me. Depression was just a label on me but I could take it off if I wanted. I could kind of set it down somewhere else for a while and that’s what being diagnosed can be like.

I just want to let you know that you’re not alone. There are tons of people that struggle with mental illness, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, everything. And there are people that are here for you. There are days when I struggle and there will be days when you struggle, too, but it gets better and it’s okay sometimes to not be okay;to just break down and cry just because you need to take time to do that.

So, keep your chin up and be brave because, hey, you’ve got this.

The title of this video is You’ve Got This. I just want you to know when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Depression, it totally blew me off of my feet because I thought that was only for crazy people and there was no way that I was crazy. I just want you to know those years that I spent in denial, if I would have just followed the advice of the people around me, those years would have been so much easier and I would’ve had this.

But, in retrospect, I’ve learned a lot. One of the key things I did was educate myself. Educate, educate, educate. Knowledge is power and the more you understand your mental illness, the more better you’re going to be able to manage your day to day life. Get over what people think. Don’t be ashamed at the fact that you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness because it’s no different than if you were a diabetic, if you had cancer, you would still have to manage those diseases. There is no shame in mental illness and that’s why people like us have to stand up and stop the stigma.

Also, my advice would be to educate those around you, your friends and your family, because when you’ve got this, then they get this. So, I just want you to know there is life in recovery with mental illness. I’m a perfect example of that, I was diagnosed back in 2006 and I am doing really, really great, my medications are doing great, I take a holistic approach. But I just want you to know if I’ve got this, then you’ve got this. Thanks for listening.

Hi, my name is Brad. I’m a Pastor, I’m a husband, I’m a dad, I’m an uncle, I’m a grandfather, I’ve got lots of friends and I have a full, rich life in spite of having Bipolar Disorder. I was diagnosed in 1995 and, in the last 10 or 11 years, I’ve not really had any complications or symptoms. My doctor says it’s, basically, I’m living in remission, so I want to tell you straight up, no matter what your diagnosis is, you can have a full and rich life in spite of it. For those who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I say welcome to the world of some of the most creative people that have ever lived. You know, there’s a list of all kinds of famous people that have Bipolar Disorder.

First of all, don’t shame yourself about this. It’s not your fault. You’re not inferior, it’s not a character flaw, nor is it a moral failure, or even a faith issue. It’s just genetic and it’s something wrong with your brain and your mind can’t function properly if your brain’s not working right. Your mind is what the brain does and sometimes, if the brain is not functioning right, it takes medicine. Just like it does with heart disease or anything else. And you just have to have that attitude. Not everybody’s going to get it, so hang around the people who get it and find them to be helpful, and those that are slow at getting it, they’ll get it sooner or later.

I kind of believe that if you and I decide this is the sickest we’re going to be, then it’s the sickest that you need to be. And just make a decision you’re going to tell your doctors as much as you can, that you’re going to get over the hump and get on top of it, and that you’re not going to let this thing consume your life. You just have to decide, ‘Hey, life has kicked me. There could be worse things, but since life has kicked me, I’m going to make sure I’m pointed in the direction I need to go.’ Be sure to keep on those medicines, do what the doctor says, tell the doctor everything, give your family access to the doctor. The more you do that, the better off you’re going to be. The reality is don’t use street drugs, watch the alcohol. Sooner or later, the side effects go away and you start feeling normal. I can honestly say my life has never been better. Sometimes, there are bumps and you have to push through, you have to keep going, you have to work at it, just like anybody that else that might have diabetes or anything like that.

Years ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and they told her, ‘Hey, if you will have a good attitude, you will have a better outcome.’ And I believe the same is true about mental health. Push through with a good attitude, you can do this. I know it.

Hi, my name is Esther. I’m a writer, a mom, and I have Bipolar Type I and PTSD. I also have mixed [:14 Inaudible] rapid cycle and I’m capable of manic and depressive at the same time, so that’s that. I was-I’ve been Bipolar since I was a kid, I’m pretty sure, but I was diagnosed about six years ago, so it’s been a constant struggle for me. My biggest thing that I struggled with is actually parenting with Bipolar. I have joint custody with my ex-husband and my daughter, I get her half the year on the weekends and on her breaks, so when I do see my daughter, I try to be as even and upbeat as possible. And she has never, ever really seen me in a full-on manic state and I try to keep it that way, but she has definitely seen me depressed and she is such a great girl. She comes into the room and she draws pictures and she brings me things to eat to cheer me up whenever I’m depressed and she knows exactly what Bipolar is. She’s almost seven years old and she really understands. She’s very precocious. She’s a really, really smart girl. My biggest fear is that she has the gene. But I’m not really going to worry about it. I’m just going to focus on raising her and being a good mother and I know that if you have children and you’re watching this and maybe you’re worrying about that, too. Just keep raising your child and keep living and wait it out and just educate them and just live your life as healthy as possible and you’ll find out later on, that they’ll know what to do based upon how you’ve lived your life.

The best part about being Bipolar, yes there is a good part. Some people may disagree, but I think the good part of being Bipolar is the creativity. I have always been a creative person. I write, I’ve always been very into acting. My whole life, I’ve always wanted to be on stage. In high school, I was always on stage, in grammar school, even in college I was on stage a little bit. And empathy, oh my gosh, because of the extreme, extreme euphoric highs and the deep, deep, deep down lows we feel, we know how it feels to just, you know, to just be at our worst, so we can reach out to other people and we can reach out to other people and let them know that we understand whenever they’re at their worst. So we can just use our gifts for good and help other people and my advice to you, is when you’re not doing well, go to the hospital and seek help. The psych ward is not a scary place;it’s not at all like in the movies with the scary, creepy, dead girl crawling around, killing people. It’s not like that. Just seek help. Usually whenever you go to the psych ward, it’s med changes, they usually monitor you for a couple days and they let you go, and maybe they advise you to go to a day program for cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy, that is one major thing that will help you out throughout your life;talking things out and just really just getting things off your chest. That is a really big thing.

And building a support system. I don’t know if you have family or friends and the internet, facebook, Google plus, they have lots of groups online where you can talk to people, just reach out and and blossom as a person. This diagnosis is a chance for you to learn a lot about yourself and to learn a lot about people in general, the world. People are going to say mean things, they are going to be horrible. They are going to call you crazy, bipolar person, they’re going to call you psycho, insane, but eventually, after a while, the stinging of those words, they’re just going to roll off of you and you’re just going to start worrying about your well-being and you’re just going to go on with your life and you’re just going to live. So, don’t worry about this because you’ve got it. Bye.

Hi. My name is Karen Tyrrell. Australian, award-winning, mental health author and survivor of Bipolar Disorder. At first, Bipolar Disorder took over my life. I experienced screaming night terrors, pitch black manic dreams, mania, and psychosis. How did I reclaim my life?

I learned everything about Bipolar and I learned to accept my diagnosis and my treatment plan. I found out that Bipolar is really like any other illness. It has symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Yes, you can recover from Bipolar Disorder. I did.

I developed my own personal wellness plan with coping skills. I learned how to sleep better, to stress less, and to keep myself resilient. And, another thing, I enlisted a support system with people that I cared about and cared about me. My doctor, my therapist, my family, and my friends all watched over me.

I am so happy that I have recovered. Another thing that I did was that I wrote in my journal every day, reflecting on how to stay well. I started writing. I wrote my first book, Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness, winning two awards. It was my journey into Bipolar and out through the other side into recovery and resilience. Then, I wrote my second book, the sequel, Me & Him: A Guide to Recovery, 30 Steps to Keep Well. And it was written, the Him in the story is my husband and my carer who helped me to recover. If I, Karen Tyrrell, can recover from Bipolar Disorder, so can you. Never, ever give up. Never. Thank you.

Hi everybody. My name is Debra and I have got Bipolar. I’ve been living with Bipolar for most of my life and I run a channel on YouTube called BipolarLife. What can I tell you about Bipolar? Well, as a seasoned veteran with Bipolar, I can tell you, first of all, don’t ever, ever give up. You’re going to have days where you feel, ‘Oh man, it’ just not worth it.’ But it is worth it and that’s very normal for this condition to feel like that, but don’t ever, ever give up. Because the good days outweigh the bad and when you have those good days, man, they’re brilliant. And the thing about Bipolar people is that we’re such fun, we have such a sense of fun about us. We do things that other people don’t do. We’re, we kind of go where angels fear to tread, and that’s not a bad thing, because we have courage. And with our courage, we allow others o have courage;we have compassion and with our compassion, we allow others to have compassion;and we understand, we seem to have a built in understanding of what other people are feeling or thinking, probably because, as a result of how we suffer and that allows other people to feel they’re not alone if they are in our company.

One thing I can say to you is avoid toxic people at all costs. And when I say toxic people, I mean all toxic people. Those are people who will not understand your condition;who decide that you’re either making it up or you’re feeling sorry for yourself, or whatever they might say;anything negative, you need to avoid them. Your condition is real;it’s not bad, it’s okay. You can live a perfectly normal life. And, in fact, having Bipolar and living with Bipolar means you are really courageous. You are the bravest of the brave. Having come to where you’ve come to and having lived with what you’ve got, you’re a really, really fabulous person and don’t ever, ever forget that. Don’t ever forget how special you are, how much fun you are, how creative you are, how intelligent you, and remember, you’ve got this.

My name is Patti and I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder ten years ago. When I was first diagnosed, I was pretty scared. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to have a normal life, that people would always see me as my disorder instead of Patti, I was scared I would never have a good, full-time job, graduate from college, hopes and dreams. But, I was able to graduate. I was able to hold a fulfilling full-time job. I was able to get my art into galleries. It was a wonderful feeling that just because somebody says there is something wrong upstairs, didn’t stop me. I think anybody with support and determination can do anything they want. I don’t think you should have to change, I don’t think it should have to stop you. Times might be tough, it happens to everybody, you’re not alone.

My advice is to know what your triggers are and learn what works for you as far as handling your triggers, productively. Everybody is going to stay stick with your medication, make sure you stay with and follow up with your doctors, that’s a given. Of course you have to. This isn’t a cold, this is something that is going to stay with you, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of, nothing at all. Some of the best people I know in my life have some sort of mental disorder and a few of them have Bipolar Disorder. They are some of the smartest, most creative, kindest people I know. I love that.

So, if you need help, in anyway, talk to someone, your therapist, family, friends, even going online to a support group can help immensely. You’re not alone. None of us are. You wouldn’t believe the kind of support you can receive. You’ve got this.

Hi. I’m Leah and I’m Tish. And we just want to let you know that you are not alone. We’ve been fighting our demons for quite a while now. And we know how things can get.

Yeah, so the first things are: don’t panic and get help. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. And it won’t go away as time goes by or you suppress your emotions and feelings.

Yeah and the second thing is, you’re a person. You are not a mental disorder. Do not let it define you. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Please take care of yourself. I wish someone had told us that.

Yeah, so [:44 Inaudible] now that you know that you have this mental illness, rewrite your story;rewrite your soul. Instead of considering yourself a broken house with cracks on the walls. Reconsider. Write confidence. Write hope. Write love.

Hello everyone. My name is Keith O’Neil and I have Bipolar Disorder. I’m a former NFL player and Superbowl champion and here I am out in the desert as you can see, in Arizona, getting ready to go climb those mountains over there. I just wanted to tell you that I know that you’re in a very tough spot right now with Bipolar Disorder. I know that you have just been diagnosed and I want to let you know that I’ve been there before and I know how difficult it can be. It was just about three years ago when I went through and 18 month bipolar depression and it was very difficult for me to get out of bed. And here I am out running these mountains and this beautiful scenery.

So, I just want to let you know that you’ve got this. I promise that you can do this. I know that it’s difficult right now. It doesn’t seem like you can do anything but what I did is I went through a lot of talk therapy with my therapist, I went to my doctors frequently, and eventually I found the right medication along with exercise and my faith. And I got through it. So, just remember that you’ve got this and I’m rooting for you.

My name is Julie Craft and I have Bipolar II Disorder and so I’m just going to shoot from the hip and share about my journey. Whether it’s to offer the inside scoop on my experience with being Bipolar or to offer hope. But life can absolutely be great.

Going back in time, if I had to describe my childhood, it was great. I was extremely creative. I was even that crazy kid that organized school classes during summer holidays. I could never understand why none of the kids wanted to come to my extensive math class on a beautiful sunny day. Unfortunately, through grades 11 and 12, I was bullied and teased mercilessly every day. So, that was really hard for me. I lost all confidence and became anxious about everything. And then out of university, I was married within a year and within a year of that, I became a mom.

My anxiety continued and every day was a struggle. The simplest things: getting out my front door, getting gas, doing groceries, going to church, taking my daughter to the park and working up the nerve to speak to other moms. Being invited over to friend’s houses for dinner, it was just all overwhelming and all I could do to just get through every day with a smile on my face. The toll that wearing a mask everyday took. I would get home every night, walk in my door, and just unload and spew my venom all over my husband and my kids. I wasn’t coping, I wasn’t able to control myself or my moods, and then I would have my manic episodes and I would be so obsessed and excited about all these projects that I didn’t want to cook dinner, I didn’t want to clean, I didn’t want to spend time with my kids because I was so hyper-focused on all of these exciting ideas. And so all of that…….

It finally blew up in May of 2010, my husband finally reached his limit and gave me an ultimatum. So, it finally took the fear of losing my family to get me to place to be willing to get over myself, get over my pride, and go and see a doctor. And my diagnosis was Bipolar II. The advice of both my doctor and the psychiatrist was to get on medication to just level me out and bring my moods into check. I didn’t like the thought of medication, either. Number one: I felt like a failure. How could I be made broken and need to be on medication in order to function like the rest of the world? So, I really beat myself up for that. I was also worried that it would make me a zombie and I would start to have drool coming out of the corners of my mouth. Of course, there were parts of my bipolarity that I loved: my manic, creative crazy episodes where I would write and paint and decorate things, so I didn’t want to give that up. I was afraid that if I did get on medication that that positive side would disappear and I would just be left living this sort of ‘blah’ existence.

Had I had high cholesterol or high blood pressure or a heart condition, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to take medication that was prescribed, but I think because mental illness is hidden away inside your head and its unseen, it was a real stumbling block for me, but I got over it and it really has helped. Just a quick side note: if you’re ever thinking that you don’t need it or you’re feeling overly confident, whatever you do, do not taper off or tinker with your medication on your own without a doctor’s help or supervision. I learned that the hard way. I was arrogant and overly confident and decided that I could handle just a slow tapering of my meds. I, basically, spiraled out of control in a hotel room. I was throwing things and acting like a wild animal. And I mean that, literally. I think the important thing to realize is that nobody is perfect. Everybody has good days and bad days, so one of my biggest pet peeves is that if I am having a bad day, that’s completely understandable, if someone’s cut me off in traffic and I get a little heated, it really is frustrating if someone looks at me and goes, ‘Did you miss a pill? Are you off your medication?’ Because I think everybody has their moments.

I got online and I started googling and I just wanted to find out if there were any other well-known people that had bipolar or had struggled with mental illness. The list of people that popped up blew me away. To discover that I was keeping such great company, to be in the same category as people that had made such incredible contributions to society and the world, whether it be in art or writing or leadership or music, was really cool. So, I wouldn’t trade it in if you asked me to or paid me to.

My manic episodes still come. I still have creative, rocket-fueled bursts of energy where I can harness all of that for good and accomplish some amazing goals. I think the trick for any of us is to make the most of the best parts and manage the worst. And I think that’s all that any of us can do in our lives. And don’t think for a moment that Jill up the street has her act together or Bob down the road is A-OK because, chances are, they’ve got their own issues and their own struggles.