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One of the hardest things about being this new version of Alysse has been not knowing how to maneuver well enough to function in the ways that will increase the likelihood of my survival. "This version of Alysse" being the version that has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This isn't really a new version of me, just a version of me that a medical professional confirmed which has made it even more real and as a result, has made things a little harder; obviously the opposite of what I expected. I thought when I started therapy and received a diagnosis that I would be in a better place completely and that's far from the reality of things. And though I have been working on taking better care of myself and doing what I can to adjust, the heaviness of the symptoms of bipolar disorder have not lessened. Which is the hardest pill to swallow: knowing that they never will.

A lot of times, I catch myself invalidating myself before anybody else can or just feeling like maybe nothing is mentally wrong with me and maybe I'm just not trying hard enough but the reality is that I'm a completely different person now. I have been for a long time and I've just been feeling like I'm stuck in some sort of limbo, trying to survive as this person. I miss the old me but I am also very proud of the person I am now.. at least most days. But there are days where I just cannot stand myself or the idea of who I am now. I am still unsure about how I am supposed to function like this, maybe even more than before. There is a difference between 1) suspecting that there was something chemically different about my brain, in hopes that a diagnosis would somehow cause things to get better because everybody would finally know that I have been suffering and 2) those suspicions being confirmed and realizing that not a lot of things change. Mostly because people don't understand what that suffering looks like or why it looks the way it does OR why it's so hard for me to just shake it off even though I know the consequences of not being able to. A lot of times, it doesn’t seem like anybody will understand that sometimes I just can’t. This is unimaginably difficult and I never expected this to be my reality but it is so therefore I want to do my best to learn more about this new version of me and take the best care of her. However, I suppose this is just another process of (un)learning and losing yourself just to find yourself again and a part of me is ok with that.

In spite of all that, I will always encourage those around me to take their mental health seriously and seek help from medical professionals because there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that. There's nothing wrong with having a mental or emotional disorder/illness. There’s nothing wrong with taking medication or talking to a therapist (or five because the first couple of them might not be your cup of tea) or going through the ups and downs. I obviously am far from having it figured out but depending on what perspective you're reading this post from, it could be beneficial in a way that validates or educates, and it's ok to not have it all figured out. I am reminding myself of that daily.

At the end of the day though:


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