Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A "crazy" new chapter

Are you sitting down? Get comfy, because this is a doozy of a post. And actually, this post is terrifying for me to write. 

I have been avoiding it, but I knew that I really wanted to do it eventually. It’s getting more difficult to write anything without talking about this, because it’s an enormous part of my life. I’ve been gradually sharing the news with people in my life—friends, family, acquaintances. And now feels like the right time to share it here. 

Friends, I have been treating the wrong mental illness for nearly 30 years.

I thought that maybe I looked confused in this pic,
and maybe a little crazy, which would be appropriate here.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t say “treating”—I only started medication 15 years ago, but my depression  started when I was very young. In elementary school, actually.

Let me back up a little, first. 

I sought help for depression when I was 20 years old. I always knew I had it, and I knew some days/weeks/months were better than others, but I was finally feeling a depression that I just couldn’t shake. So, I saw my family doctor, and started taking an antidepressant. I never really noticed a big change in my mood when I started taking it, but I was still having periods of time where I felt good, so I just assumed that was a normal part of life with depression.

In 2007, my antidepressant was switched to the generic version. And I became very, very depressed. I started having thoughts of suicide, and it was actually my mom that made me an appointment with a therapist and psychiatrist. I really didn’t care for the therapist, and then when I saw the psychiatrist, I just decided he was crazy—because his diagnosis was bipolar disorder.

Say what?! 

At that time, I thought I would have liked having bipolar disorder, because I hated feeling depressed and I would have given anything to feel happy! I just “knew” his diagnosis was incorrect. I had only seen him so that he could switch me to a different antidepressant or at least the brand name of the one I was taking.) So, I didn’t take the mood stabilizer he prescribed, and I continued with the antidepressant (switching back to the brand name, even though it cost three times the price of the generic). 

I started this blog in 2011, and in retrospect, all of the signs and symptoms were there. I’m pretty embarrassed about it now, because I feel like all of you (my readers) could clearly see my symptoms in my writing, but I was the one who was oblivious. 

A month ago, I went to a psychiatrist because I just couldn’t shake another long bout of depression—this one lasting 10 months. He asked what I hoped to get out of the appointment, and I told him that I wanted a proper diagnosis (earlier this year, I started suspecting that I had inattentive ADHD along with depression) and treatment. I was 99% sure that would be the final diagnosis. He asked me dozens and dozens of questions, and I explained all that had gone on in the past and present, even my family history.


At the end of a very long appointment, I even joked with him that a psychiatrist had diagnosed me as bipolar about 10 years ago, and how silly was that? He said, “Well, you’re probably not going to like my diagnosis then… I believe that you have bipolar disorder II.”

I was stunned. Weren’t people with bipolar “crazy”? Maxing out credit cards, having extramarital affairs, etc.? When I questioned this, he explained what bipolar II is. While bipolar I has manic episodes, bipolar II has “hypomanic” episodes—which are milder than than manic, but can still cause a lot of distress and problems in one’s life.

Bipolar II also typically has very long, severe periods of depression (which is different than major depressive disorder). So, with bipolar II, my mood swings between hypomania and depression. There are also times where I can be in a “mixed state”, having both hypomania and depression at the same time. The amount of time between each state varies greatly. (It’s important to note that bipolar does not just mean “mood swings”—everybody has mood swings. Bipolar is more severe than that.)


As I said, I am terrified of going public with this. However, as I have been educating myself about the disorder for the last month, I no longer feel ashamed of it. To tell you the truth, I am very, very relieved to finally have an answer and hope that now that I’m treating the correct mental illness, I will get better. (I had my second psych appointment today, and he confirmed the diagnosis he suspected was correct.)

And I have been getting better! My psychiatrist stopped the antidepressant (antidepressants can actually make bipolar II worse) and started me on a mood stabilizer. The mood stabilizer should do exactly as it says—stabilize my mood so that I don’t get into depression or hypomania. 

This is pretty much the last six years of my blog, is it not?!

Sometimes, hypomania was great! I would feel very energetic and happy, have an easy time losing weight (my weight would tend to go up with depression and down with hypomania), feel very social, make all sorts of fun plans, and just be very fun, spontaneous (hello, San Diego on a moment’s notice!), and excited about things. 

However, there were some big downsides to it, also. Hypomania can cause severe irritability, and I hated the way it made me feel—not only mentally, but physically as well. My skin would feel like it was buzzing, like every single nerve was being irritated at the same time. I would snap at people for no reason, and feel very restless. My anxiety was sky-high, and I would have panic attacks.

Also, during hypomania, I was extremely impulsive. I would make a ton of plans, start lots of projects, and set lots of goals. Sounds great, right? But then I would swing back into depression, and never follow through or finish those things (like the bathroom I impulsively started remodeling just a moment after the thought occurred to me, and then Jerry had to finish several months later). 


When I took the time to really read and educate myself about bipolar II, I realized that I actually am a textbook case of someone with the disorder. There were other people in my life who had suggested it to me before as well, but I let it go in one ear and out the other, because I didn’t understand bipolar II. First there was the psychiatrist in 2007; then the psychologist/therapist I started seeing last year, but didn’t care for; my general practitioner, who insisted I see a psychiatrist; my current therapist suspected it, but I never even entertained the idea; and now the psychiatrist I’m currently seeing. Finally, I understand and I accept it: I have bipolar disorder II. 


All these years, I always thought I had depression, and that sometimes it would “flare up” even while taking antidepressants. I thought my hypomanic episodes were just “feeling normal”. Now that I am on a mood stabilizer (that is working VERY well), I finally know what it feels like to be “normal”.

I feel happy, but not impulsively so. I am able to think clearly and rationally rather than jump the gun on the first thing that pops into my head. When something bad happens, I still feel sad—but in situations that any normal person would feel sad (for example, I took my friend to have her dog put down at the vet yesterday so she wouldn’t have to do it alone—and I felt very sad for her, with tears and feeling choked up, but that was a “normal” person's response to the situation.)

I have not felt depressed at all since starting the medication. There is a big difference between feeling sad and feeling depressed; and I’ve felt sad a few times for “normal” things, like I mentioned, but I have not felt depressed.

I used to use food to help me feel better when I was depressed, and even alcohol to help with anxiety. Now, I don’t feel the need to use either of those things for those purposes. I haven’t binged in a long time, and I actually don’t even feel the urge to. I’ve only had alcohol in social situations, and I put a cap on it at two drinks max. 

Frankly, I am amazed at the difference that a month with the correct diagnosis and medication can make. For the first time in my life, I am experiencing “normal” (or at least what I imagine normal feels like). 

I’ve accepted and even embraced my diagnosis. I even started a Pinterest board with tons of funny memes about bipolar disorder, and looking at those makes me laugh and feel less alone. So many things that I thought were my “quirks” are actually very common among people with bipolar disorder. (I inserted a lot of memes in this post to keep it light-hearted)

I may even joke about bipolar on my blog from time to time, and I mean no disrespect to anyone with bipolar (or any mental illness). I just found that by looking at the humor in it, I feel much better about it. (So, if any of my real life friends are reading this, know that it’s okay to joke about it and call me “crazy”, etc. I will laugh!)


I only know one other person with bipolar, and she just came into my life less than a year ago. After Jerry and Andrea, she was the first person I told about my diagnosis. She was very helpful in making me realize that nothing has really changed except for the name of my diagnosis, and that now I’ll have the correct medication to feel better. 

I’m still the same person as before, but I don’t feel so bad. I feel like I have a better handle on everything in general, and I really hope that by writing about it on my blog, I can bring more awareness to bipolar II, and maybe even refute the stigma surrounding bipolar disorder. 


I only ask one thing about this post: Please be kind. If not for me, then for other people that have bipolar and are reading this post and the comments. I am seriously terrified to click the “publish” button, and even more terrified of the feedback I may receive. So, if I may ask one thing, it’s just that if you don’t have something kind to say, please don’t comment at all. 


The majority of you have been SO supportive of me through all these years, and I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate that. Being honest about tough stuff has always been hard for me, but the feedback I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive. I am so grateful for all of it! Thank you for being here. xo

161 comments:

  1. You are amazing and I'll stick by what I once said when I was an early reader of your blog-- you'd made an amazing therapist, because you are such a thoughtful individual and clearly an incredible patient! When you visit Boston next April I might just try to convince you to! :)

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    1. make** haha! You'd MAKE an amazing therapist :)

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    2. It's kind of funny how many people have told me that lately! Including my own therapist, hahaha. I would love to be a therapist, actually. When I first started going to college, my major was psychology. I didn't realize I'd need a master's degree to do anything with it, so I just changed majors. If it didn't cost so much, I would go back to school and eventually get a master's in social work!
      Can't wait to go back to Boston! :)

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  2. Long time reader - I had no idea! I'm so glad you got the right diagnosis and hope you feel better.

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    1. Thank you! I had no idea either, although the signs were pretty obvious looking back on it. I'm glad to finally know what's going on!

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  3. I'm here, always, and I love you ❤ - A

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    1. You are the best. Truly. I love you so much!

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  4. Katie, I've always thought you were an amazing role model, and after meeting you this weekend and reading this just now it just confirmed it even more. ❤️ I'm so glad you've found the answers!

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    1. Thank you! I feel like our four hour walk was a therapy session, hahaha.

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  5. My sister-in-law has bipolar disorder. She was diagnosed when she had her son many years ago. At first, they thought it was postparum psychosis. But they finally diagnosed her correctly. She still fights taking her medication - as hers makes her gain weight - and she still "cycles" quite a bit. It's been difficult for her because her parents and siblings are quite conservative and still have a bit of that mental illness "stigma". I've always just accepted it - some people have brown eyes, some people are double jointed and some are bipolar. I'm happy that you've finally had a diagnosis and that your medication is working out for you. Thank your support system as not all have such a good one.

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    1. I was very worried about my family's acceptance of the diagnosis, because mental illness has never really been talked about in my family. They've been great, though! I don't know why I was even worried about it. I'm glad you friend was finally able to get a diagnosis as well!

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  6. As A fellow patient of bipolar II, welcome to the club! Mood stabilizers completely changed my life about a year ago. They don't always work perfectly, and I still struggle with bouts of depression, but nowhere near as bad as I used to. I actually wrote a post suggesting that you had bipolar II a few weeks ago, but did not have the nerve to press submit. I wish I had. Good luck!

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    1. That's very encouraging! Thank you. And if you had posted about bipolar II, it probably wouldn't have helped--at the time, I just wasn't ready to even entertain the idea. The psychiatrist explained things very well, and it finally clicked for me! Thank you for sharing. I'm glad that you found medication to be helpful.

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  7. So profoundly happy for you that you found a diagnosis and a treatment path that works for you. I bet normal never felt so good!

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    1. I can't even describe it--I feel like I missed out on "normal" for so long!

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  8. Yay for you! Happy you're feeling better! I agree with Jill--bipolar is simply a trait some folks have; NOTHING to be judged for! Blessings to you...

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    1. Thank you! The biggest fear of mine was feeling judged and looked at differently now--when in reality, I'm the same person. Just more stable with my moods :)

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  9. I admire your honesty Katie and laughed at all the memes in the middle of an extremely serious blog. What I loved the most is that you asked everyone to be kind. If people would follow that simple advice, the world would be a better place. Hugs from your surrogate Mom in Nebraska. I'm always in your corner, rooting for you.

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    1. The memes crack me up!! I love looking through them when I need a good laugh :) And thanks for always being here, Pam. I would love to one day give you a hug in person!

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  10. Katie, I'm one of your lurkers and I'm just so proud of you.It's sad that there are stigmas still attached to so many mental illnesses. It takes wonderful people like you putting yourself out there to say "I have this, I'm dealing with it and I'm just like anyone else with a challenge in their life." The only sad part I see here is that you had to deal with the bad stuff for longer than maybe you should have. I'm proud that you kept persisting and finally found the help you needed and the right people to get you to accept and face your challenge. Every one has one, some are just harder than others. Rock on girl!

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    1. Thank you thank you! I hope that someday, the stigmas of mental illness will be broken. I certainly wouldn't choose this if I had a choice! But it's a fact of my life, and I've accepted that. It's a huge relief to finally know what's going on.

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  11. Long-time reader here. I'm so glad you feel better, and it was brave of you to publish this. You're awesome, Katie, and I'm sure other people will be helped by this post and may suffer less because of you.

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    1. Thank you so much Tracey! I appreciate your support.

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  12. Katie, you are such an amazing person. I feel like you're a friend as I share in your life through this blog. I commend you for sharing your personal struggles. I can only imagine what a help you will be to others going through the same battles with bipolar disorder.

    You're a beautiful person inside and out. Best of luck that your new course of treatment helps you live your best life. Take care.

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    1. Thank you Jen! It means so much to know I have support from total strangers. I'm interested to see where things go from here!

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  13. A very honest post! It's really such a shame that there is such a stigma attached to having a mental illness. This is no different from finding out you have diabetes or any other disorder for which you need to take medication in order to be healthy. So glad that you have found the answer so that you can be taking the right medication.

    You are still YOU. Nothing has changed except now you can enjoy your life. :)

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    1. PS When I saw your title about a crazy new chapter, I thought you were taking some new job or something. lol

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    2. Thank you! It's so hard to describe to people that haven't dealt with mental illness, but I'm finding that lots of people at least know somebody with it, and they are usually very supportive. So far, it's been very positive for me :)

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    3. Oh definitely. I don't think there's anybody who doesn't know someone, or have someone in their family. My husband's niece has bipolar disorder also. On medication and doing great. :)

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  14. I'm really happy for you that you have this new information (and maybe it was just the right timing for you to accept it, making your treatment more effective). I think you were really brave to post this, and hope you feel the love from everyone here who supports you!

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    1. Yes, I think the timing was key. Like I said, I'd heard the diagnosis before, but at the time, I thought it was ridiculous--probably because of the stigma surrounding bipolar (all I knew was what I'd see on TV). Thank you for the support!

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  15. Congratulations Katie! Misdisgnosis stinks. I thought I had depression but turned out I was depressed ad a result of untreated OCD.You are so inspiring. Please know that there is nothing to be ashamed of in any mental illness. All the best!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad that you found out the reason for your depression, and I hope that you have found a treatment that works for you!

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  16. I'm glad you have found the correct diagnosis and feel more "normal" now - that's a good thing for sure! And thank you for bringing attention to such an important issue in our society. Mental health is just as important as your physical health, sometimes even more so because as you know, depending on how you are feeling mentally can affect how you are feeling physically. I've been a long time reader and it's been awesome to see you stepping out of your comfort zone on so many occasions - and this is one of them and why I love your blog. You are honest and don't put up a fake front - keep it up Katie! You are supported and loved by so many of your blog followers!

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    1. Yes! There are so many physical symptoms that stem from things like depression, anxiety, and even mania. They are not fun, and can really affect the quality of life! I appreciate your support--thank you.

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  17. So happy you got a helpful diagnosis. Love and appreciate your honesty!

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate your support.

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  18. Long time reader - you are so brave! Thanks for posting - you help more people than you'll ever know! ❤️

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    1. I really appreciate your saying that--and thank you for reading for so long!

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  19. Katie, what I have learned after 47 years is that I have nothing if I lack peace. If this diagnosis and treatment gives you happiness and a sense of peace then it is all worth it! That happiness will be shared with your family and friends, a domino effect which benefits everyone. Hopefully you have found the key!!!

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    1. Peace is something that I rely on very much when making tough decisions--and hearing this diagnosis, learning about bipolar and realizing that it really does describe me, gave me peace. It was like a huge weight was lifted. Thank you so much!

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  20. So happy for you, I have family that suffers with the disorder and have seen how bad it can be. You are very brave for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much Jen! It really is very difficult to deal with. I was relieved to know there is a reason for the way I am, which makes it easier to accept. I appreciate your support!

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  21. You are awesome and brave for sharing this Katie! My best friend was diagnosed with bipolar a few years ago and it was hard for her to accept - I think I'm going to share this post with her. I really admire your honesty. So happy you are on a good path and feeling better! I'm sure you've helped someone immensely just by posting this! You rock girl xo

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    1. Thank you! I can completely understand why the diagnosis was hard for your friend to accept. It took me 10 years to even entertain the idea! But I feel a million times better now that I know what's going on and I can treat it properly.

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  22. Thank you for sharing! I just got a recent diagnosis of my own that I was afraid to share, but the minute I did, the response I got confirmed that I made the right decision. So glad that you are on your way to better mental health and feeling better about yourself!

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    1. Thank you Jenn! I'm glad that you got the response you'd hoped to get. It's scary to share such a big part of our lives!

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  23. Thank you for sharing. May is Mental Health Awareness month. #BreaktheStigma #StigmaFree

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    1. I actually didn't know that May was Mental Health Awareness month! Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Have you ever checked your hormones? Mine have gotten badly out of whack. There are certain times of the month when I feel like DEATH, and hate everyone and everything, cannot function, and have a huge list of debilitating symptoms that go along with it. Yet when the hormones change, I feel amazing, happy, cheerful, outgoing etc. It's such a dramatic difference that it seems crazy. I'm trying to get some help getting it straightened out now. Not easy to find a helpful doctor though. It's very clear though, that it's timed exactly with hormones. Maybe that could be part of your problem. You can find charts online that show when which hormones rise and fall. Keep your symptoms/feelings written in a calendar planner along with cycle days and then compare to the chart.

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    1. I had my hormones checked in February when I was waiting to see a psychiatrist. I was checked for everything under the sun. This is the correct diagnosis... there is much more to it than mood swings. But I hope you find a great doctor who will help you out with your symptoms! That doesn't sound fun at all. xo

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  25. I am so happy that you finally have a diagnosis and a medication that is working. I am sure that your openness to talk about this will positively touch many lives!

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    1. Thank you! I am very relieved as well. I appreciate your support!

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  26. I've been following your blog for 5 years, it's the only blog I've followed for that length of time. I initially started reading for the weight loss aspect, but came to love hearing about your life, and always appreciated your honesty in everything you talk about. I'm really glad you found a diagnosis, it's clear how much of a relief this was and how much it has helped. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You've definitely educated me more about what being bipolar can mean.

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    1. Thank you for being so supportive and such a loyal reader! My blog has changed quite a bit through the years, so I really appreciate your sticking around ;) Sharing this diagnosis has been a big relief!

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  27. Big high fives and hugs for your courage to face this and to do so so publicly. You are awesome and will help so many people.

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    1. Thank you very much, Stephanie! It was a hard post to share, but I feel so relieved to do it!

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  28. This must have been such a challenging post to write but you must feel like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders by speaking about it! It's definitely a good thing for people to be making mental illness more visible.
    I hope you continue to inspire anyone feeling the same as you :)

    Coffee & Avocados

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    1. That's exactly how it felt! I'm glad to finally be open about it and embrace it. I appreciate your support!

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  29. You go girl!
    I am a grandmother, mom and wife. I think there is something so healing about bringing any issue "into the light." In the darkness we feel alone and that is the worst place to be when we really need each other because we are all battling our own realities. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! May all your cookies have a combination of everything that makes you happy xoxoxo

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    1. You said that very well! Thank you--I appreciate your support very much.

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  30. Wow, I wasn't expecting that. I'm really happy that you've found the proper diagnosis, and that you're on a much better path. I'd never heard of biopolar II, and I appreciate you talking about it. And I'm so sorry that the stigma of mental illness makes you nervous to post this. I would never think to criticize or make someone feel badly for having an illness. Good luck in finding peace with your new medication. Once again, Katie, you rock.

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    1. Believe me, I wasn't expecting it either! haha. But now that I understand it, I feel so much better about who I am. I appreciate your support.

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  31. Nothing but love here! Glad you have a better idea of what to be treating, so actually am very happy for you! <3 <3 <3

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  32. So, so proud of you!! Well done, you brave girl!! I am SO glad that you have the proper diagnosis, and are now on the right medicine.

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    1. And one more thing...you lost all that weight when you didn't have a proper diagnosis & weren't on the right medicine. To me, that makes your loss even more impressive!!! :)

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    2. I am so grateful to finally have the right medication as well--it's very enlightening to feel what "normal" feels like. Thank you for your support!

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  33. I'm thrilled you finally got the correct diagnosis! My husband was diagnosed with bipolar about 30 years ago. Your statement about now knowing what normal feels like - he said to me when he had been on medication for about two months also. He has always told me how grateful he is to have found a doctor who finally diagnosed him correctly.

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    1. Thank you! That's great that your husband got the correct diagnosis and treatment--I'm glad it worked so well for him. It really does feel enlightening to finally see what "normal" people feel like. I feel like I've been missing out for a long time! I'm so glad to finally know what's going on.

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  34. I don't usually comment but I wanted to today to say thank you for sharing your diagnosis and opening yourself up to the internet. :) I'm so happy that you've gotten a diagnosis and medication that is making you feel "normal". I hope that it will continue to stabilize your world!

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    1. Thank YOU for being so supportive! I really appreciate your taking the time to comment.

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  35. Your's sounds like a common story, as I have heard similar from at least 2 friends who were diagnosed later in life. Both of them also used drugs/alcohol/food to "self-medicate", of course without success. Although I am a complete stranger to you (because of the blog you're less of a stranger to me :) ), I'm glad that you were able to get a correct diagnosis and are starting to see changes. The shame people feel for mental illness is so unfortunate and if you sharing your story in the way that you do helps even one other person feel comfortable with themselves, you're doing good for both of you! Thank you for your bravery and candor.

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    1. You're right, it really is unfortunate that having a mental illness feels shameful. I really hope that over time, people will be more accepting and the stigma surrounding it will go away. Thank you so much for your support! And I hope that your friends are doing well now that they've been properly diagnosed. :)

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  36. Wow...you truly are an inspiration to so many! I don't battle mental illness but my husband's oldest son does and is in pure denial. I just hope for him and his family he can come to accept much like you! I absolutely love reading your blog! Keep inspiring!

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    1. Thank you Shelly! And I hope that your husband's son finds peace with his diagnosis as well. I appreciate your support!

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  37. I am so happy you have the correct diagnosis! But I am thrilled you are happy about it too. Mental illness has such a stigma that people just hold it all in and what you did in this post, have been doing this whole time and will continue to do is exactly what we need. People to talk about it open and honestly so others can understand that while they have an illness there is nothing "wrong" with them. So thank you.

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    1. At first, I felt very ashamed and embarrassed. But the more I think about it and learn about it, the more accepting I am. There are certainly some good parts to bipolar, and it's a part of ME--I would be a different person otherwise!

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  38. Thank you for your honesty and being so brave to share with us. Since I discovered your blog a few years ago, you have always been an inspiration to me. I don't think you have anything to feel ashamed or embarrassed about, you are taking control of your life and doing what is best for you and your family. I am happy that you are happy!

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    1. Thank you so much! I am so happy to have such a positive support system. I appreciate it!

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  39. We are here for you. You are very brave for hitting Publish but you should be very proud. You are not hiding behind your illness. It is an illness - it isn't your fault. And you are making people aware of it. I didn't even know there was a BP II. I dated someone for 2 years who was BP - I will admit it was hard to know what was him and what was the disorder. This was just at the beginning of the internet (about 20 years ago) so I will admit as a 26 year old, I didn't go out of my way to learn more about it and I realize I could have been more supportive.

    There is such a stigma about mental illness and I applaud everyone who is open and honest about what they are going through, even though it is terrifying. Even if you help just 1 person by your honesty, that is a wonderful thing.

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    1. The internet has helped SO MUCH in learning about bipolar. The internet was certainly around 10 years ago, but not everywhere like it is today. I'm grateful that Jerry has been so supportive through all these (crazy) years! ;)

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  40. I am so glad you were able to share this with us! Thank you so much for your honesty. You're seriously so brave. I've been a long time reader (since 2013 now I believe!) and I have always admired your ability to speak out on what you believe in and what you're feeling. You help so many people just by sharing your thoughts! I am so glad you were able to find your diagnosis and I hope your new prescriptions can bring you some peace of mind! I'll always keep on reading Katie. I know you don't know me personally but I always feel like I could relate to you on a personal level. It's been nice having an "online friend" that I feel like I could relate to, especially if none of my friends or family understand (especially with weight struggles). I'm so happy you're happy! <3

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    1. Thank you for always being so kind and supportive! I really appreciate your support and taking the time to comment. xo

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  41. You are such a wonderful person. Your bravery will help many who struggle with bipolar diagnosis. There is such a stigma with bipolar disorder and only by talking about it will we be able to remove that stigma.

    I too was diagnosed with bipolar II about 10 years ago. I'm always afraid of what people will think but your strength has given me new resolve to face whatever people say with dignity. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for sharing that! I have to say, it was a HUGE relief to tell people, and my friends and family have been fantastic. And obviously, my readers have been as well! I admit, I was one of those people who knew next to nothing about bipolar before this diagnosis; but the more I learn, the less scary it is.

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  42. Well...to be honest, I thought your big news would have been that you were pregnant, LOL!
    Thank you for writing such a great post and providing good information to those of us who knew nothing about Bi-Polar II. So glad you have the right diagnosis & medication now.
    I also wish there was less of a stigma to mental illness. We don't chose the color of our eyes & people do not chose a mental illness. It's just apart of who you are.
    Enjoy getting to know your new normal!

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    1. Hahaha! Well, I can assure, I am done having kids. Jerry and I made that decision permanent after we had Eli ;) And you're right, we don't choose mental illness! But getting a proper diagnosis has been so helpful in living with it, because now I have real answers. Thank you!

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  43. Thank you for the courage to be open about your diagnosis. Mental illness is something no one asks for, and certainly that no one deserves. I pray that this correct diagnosis together with the medication will help you live life fully. Peace.

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    1. Thank you so much! I have gotten such a nice response, it's any wonder why I was nervous to post about it :)

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  44. I'm thrilled that you finally got a diagnosis! That must be such a relief. I was diagnosed with bipolar two years ago but the only person that I can really talk to about it is my husband. So I'm glad you have the support you need. I've been reading your blog for years but this is the first time I've commented. Thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. I felt very alone as well when I was first diagnosed, and I didn't tell many people right away. I think most people have an image in their heads of what bipolar is (how it's portrayed on TV) and eventually, I was able to educate my family about it. Please feel free to email me any time if you want to chat! Sometimes I want to talk about it, but I don't want to annoy everyone in my life with it ;)

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  45. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I cannot imagine how difficult it was to write this post and really open up about something so personal, but I'm glad you did! I'm really glad that you finally received the correct diagnosis and medication to help you feel better. Thank you again for sharing this post!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it's always hard to write about very personal things, but I almost always feel better when I do. Thanks for the support!

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  46. been reading your blog for some time now, quietly in the background :-), Always loved your honesty, and love it even more now, respect from someone who has been struggling herself for years and years and years, but who finds a lot of support here in this blog

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    1. Thank you for commenting! I'm so happy that you've found support in my blog. That alone is worth sharing something so personal. I appreciate it.

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  47. You really are very inspiring and SO brave! Thank you for sharing your life with us! I'm happy to hear things are getting better and you finally have answers. :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your support :)

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  48. I'm glad you finally got a diagnosis and you are good with it. I work in the health care industry and mental illness is quickly becoming the new norm. More people suffer from some sort of anxiety or depression then anyone knows. The difference is that some people are open about it and others are not. I work in a very small office right now and more than half of us have to take some type of medication to help us get through our days. Bless you Katie for being so open about it. It may be difficult, but you have no idea how many people you help by talking openly about what you are going through. It's always nice to know you are not alone.

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    1. Thank you! I think that it was much easier to talk about the depression because I know how common it is. Bipolar, on the other hand, isn't so common and there are a lot of misconceptions about it. I'm hoping to bring more awareness to it and educate more about it!

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  49. Your blog is one of my very favorites! You are awesome and brave!

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  50. I'm so happy to hear that you found something that is working for you! Your adoring fans still love you no matter what your diagnosis is!! Just keep being you :)

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    1. I appreciate that, Jen! Thanks so much for being so supportive :)

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  51. That's fantastic news to find a diagnosis and a (hopefully) reliable treatment. I hope you meet lots of love and support as you share this news with friends and family. You've got tons of support here! Keep us update on your journey. We're cheering for you!

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    1. Thank you so much! This diagnosis has been eye-opening for me, and I'm so glad to finally have some answers to all the things that have been progressively getting worse over the years. I appreciate the support.

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  52. I'm glad to hear that you have a diagnosis and path forward. I just want to thank you for being brave enough to talk about this. I have been caught in a depressive episode and meds are not helping. You have encouraged me to make an appointment and make sure my general practitioner has been treating the right disorder. Thanks!

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been suffering with depression. It's so frustrating when you feel like you're doing what you're "supposed to" do, but it's not working. I would suggest talking to a psychiatrist who will go much more in-depth to get a diagnosis. Best wishes! xo

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  53. Thank you for your honesty! I have been struggling with anxiety most my life, and it has always been super encouraging to read your blog. By sharing this, I think you are helping more people than you can imagine. I admire your bravery, and I'm so happy you found a correct diagnosis!

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    1. Thank you! Anxiety is the WORST. I always described depression as something that is more gentle (just as bad in feeling, but it comes on slower and lasts for long periods of time) where anxiety is like a punch in the stomach (hitting you hard an in a moment's notice). Anxiety would cause so much distress for me. I hope that you are able to find a treatment that helps with your anxiety! xo

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  54. Katie - I think you are an amazing, beautiful and wonderful person inside and out always continue being you because you are the best. I have followed your blog for a few years now and these last few months every blog I read I felt like it was me writing it, it was like I was always in the exact same spot and feeling the exact same way so with your proper diagnosis this makes me question things in my life. Thank you for always being honest and being you :)

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    1. Thank you so much for being such a loyal reader! I hope that you feel some peace soon with the feelings you are going through. xo

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  55. I've always thought you were pretty extraordinary, and this only makes me happier to know that you feel more 'normal.' I really enjoy following your journey, and I can't adequately tell you how much you inspire me!

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  56. The stigma (others put on you) of mental illness can only be fought by us NOT being ashamed. Good for you.

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    1. Thank you! The more I learn, and the more open I am, the less embarrassed/ashamed I feel. And right now, I am very much okay with the diagnosis. It's been enlightening, that's for sure!

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  57. Thank you for sharing! I'm sure it was quite difficult to publish.
    I'm so glad you found the correct diagnosis and starting to feel better.

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    1. Thank you, Mandy! I really appreciate the support.

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  58. I am sure you were terrified to post this, kudos to you for being so brave. I am so happy you have found the right diagnosis. Good luck on the new meds. You are still an incredible person. Keep up the good fight. You probably have far more support than you think you do.'

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    1. I honestly did not expect this many people to respond with such supportive comments! It's been fantastic. Thank you!

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  59. I'm so glad you have a diagnosis and are starting to feel more 'normal'. Thank you for writing about it - the people are prepared to open up about mental health illnesses, the less stigma will surround them. It's due to people being brave like you that they're being talked about so much more. You definitely have support from your readers!

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope that one day, mental illness will be talked about openly and not have a stigma. I appreciate the support!

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  60. So very very happy that you finally have some answers that make sense and treatment that is working.... Hooray! You are terrific and you have helped so many people work to achieve their potential.. including me! Look forward to meeting you in person in Vegas. :-)

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    1. Oh, yay! You're going to Vegas :) Thank you so much for the support. It was exactly what I needed. xo

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  61. Thank you so much for sharing this! I work for a community mental health center as a therapist, and I also have several family members with different mental health disorders. You are an inspiration! And, also, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so excellent timing! There is way too much stigma around mental health.

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    1. I had no idea that May was Mental Health Awareness Month--but you're right, what perfect timing! That's awesome that you work as a therapist. My therapist has been wonderful, and I'm so grateful for her :)

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  62. This is an incredible post. Thank you for your honesty and bravery.

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  63. You are an incredibly brave and inspirational woman! Thank you for speaking so honestly and openly about your journey. I know it will help many who are going through the same thing.

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    1. Thank you! If it helps even one person who was going through something like I was, it was worth sharing. I appreciate your support!

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  64. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  65. Thank you for being so open and honest. Not enough people talk about mental health yet it affects so many people! So happy you finally have answers!

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    1. Yes! Since sharing about it, several people in "real life" have opened up to me about mental health issues as well. It goes to show that we really have no idea what someone is going though, no matter how they appear on the outside. Thank you for the support!

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  66. Brave post! I'm glad you were finally able to get a diagnosis and find a medication and doctor that could help.

    Long time reader and like others...I also had no idea!

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    1. Thank you! I was so embarrassed because I thought that EVERYONE could clearly see it but me. I always did a pretty good job hiding my depression, but I was exhausted from hiding it. It feels good to be myself!

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  67. Thank you for sharing your journey with mental illness. It's so inspiring. I know I'm incredibly grateful for my medication!

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    1. Thank you! And I'm so glad you found a treatment to help what you're going through as well :)

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  68. Katie, thank you for your honesty and for sharing your life! I know it is so hard to push publish, but I can only imagine how many people can relate and may even seek out a correct diagnosis for themselves, so thank you for being vulnerable! And I am so excited for this new "crazy" chapter for you and for your family :)

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    1. Thank you, Laura! My family has noticed the huge change in me since starting my new meds, and they are pleasantly surprised. I'm so glad that I was finally able to feel better!

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  69. Katie. I'm a long time reader. Congratulations on speaking your truth. I know it was hard, but you'll be helping tons of people. Carrie Fisher would be proud. Yes, we have to find the humor to help us walk through the pain.

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    1. I honestly think it was the memes that gave me the courage to publish this post. They made me laugh so much, and I didn't feel so ashamed of the diagnosis anymore. Thank you for the support!

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  70. Katie, I am so glad you are finding out what you need. ((Hug)) I'm sure there are many more people than those of us who are commenting that will read this and be so relieved they aren't the only ones. Thank you for sharing. ❤

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    1. Thank you so much, Leah! I am so grateful for all the kind comments. I appreciate your support!

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  71. What a relief to have a proper diagnosis, Katie! I admire the way you have advocated for yourself in this journey to health - you just refused give up and accept what you knew was unacceptable for you. I'm so happy you have found your "normal"!

    I have commented on a couple of your posts in the past because my daughter has been diagnosed as having depression as well. I have to say that I've had a suspicion that she, too, is bipolar. When I suggested that to her, she was quite firm in her denial. I know there isn't a lot I can do for her other than love her and listen to her and support her, but do you have any suggestions for friends/family members who feel there may be more diagnostic digging to be done? I'd love any thoughts you might have about that.

    Here's to continued health and happiness for you and your family!

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting! I am so sorry for what you and your daughter are going through. I was VERY firm in denial when I heard the diagnosis before, but eventually, I was so desperate for answers that I was willing to try anything. And I still didn't really believe the psychiatrist when he diagnosed me. But seeing how well I've responded to the medication, and after reading a ton about it, I realized that it is correct. And now I've accepted that. This page was very helpful to me in recognizing my symptoms as bipolar: http://www.moodtreatmentcenter.com/bipolar2.htm
      I think it's great that you are taking an interest in your daughter's mental health, because I felt very alone (other than Jerry and my friend Andrea, I didn't feel I could talk to anyone about the very dark depressive thoughts I was having). Just being there for her, and not judging her will help tremendously! I would suggest that she at least read over the site I just posted, because she may find that she can relate to a lot of it. It was pretty eye-opening for me. Best wishes! xo

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  72. OH Katie! I'm so happy to read this. I'm a long time reader and I never really considered you having a different issue than depression. Maybe because you told us that's what you had so I accepted it. But in reading this it all kind of makes sense. And the positive changes you are experiencing already are so encouraging! I hope you continue to share this journey with us.

    It's a shame that mental illness has such a stigma. However, people like you - being open and honest about this, is the only way that it will change. I had no clue there were different types of bipolar disorders. Reading this was very interesting to me. I feel like in some ways the word bipolar has more of a stigma than the word depression. I think society thinks depressed people are "sad" and bipolar people are "crazy". It's really unfortunate. I wish it would change, but if it ever does it doesn't to take time and education. Thank you so much for educating me on bipolar II. I hope you continue to have such positive progress! {hugs}

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    1. I definitely think bipolar has more of a stigma than depression, because it's much less common than depression. But I am hoping that by bringing awareness to bipolar II, it will help with the misconceptions. I didn't know anything about bipolar II until my diagnosis, when I went home and read everything I could find. Thank you so much for the support!

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  73. I so glad you got some answers! I'm in this field and I often see people misdiagnosed, and it can cause so much turmoil! I'm impressed with you going public too:)

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    1. Thank you! It was very scary, but I'm glad I went public as well. A huge relief!

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  74. I have my master's in social work and I am a provisionally licensed therapist in NC (meaning that I am being supervised until I fulfill client contact hours to be fully licensed). I am so proud that you were brave enough to come forward and tell your readers...there is such a stigma around mental health. I am so glad you're getting the correct treatment for you, it can make all the difference! <3

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  75. Katie, thank you so much for sharing this. I think you wrote a post that could help so many people. You explained bipolar II so well, I think it may help others to recognize it in themselves or their loved ones. I'm so glad you're feeling 'normal' (whatever that is, to all of us!)

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  76. I could not be happier for you. My family has a long history of bipolar diagnoses (although I, somehow, have only had depression/anxiety diagnoses--so far), and I think the more people who, like you, are able to discuss it public clay and alstroemerias clearly be a force for good in this world while living with bipolar will help us gradually ease the stigma. You are amazing and wonderful.

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  77. Katie, thank you for being real and open about your journey and struggle. I've followed your blog for quite awhile now, initially for inspiration losing weight and running, but when I learned of your struggles with depression and anxiety, I felt like I could connect with you on that level too. I have never heard of Bipolar II before you, so thank you for speaking out! I have been up and down with depression for about 16 years, and struggle with the idea of taking medication big time. Do you have any reccomendations about how to start getting help? Again, thanks for speaking up, your courage is inspiring!

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  78. Katie I am so so happy for you and getting the correct diagnosis! I have read your blog for awhile and you are such a inspiring person, I think it so incredibly brave of you to share this because you will help others by doing so. There is NOTHING to be ashamed of and everyone in the world needs to know that mental illness should not be something to be ashamed of. You are proof of that since being diagnosed correctly and treated correctly is helping you! I wish you nothing but the best on this new journey and hope your struggles with depression and anxiety lessen more and more. You are so courageous for posting this, thank you!

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  79. Katie, I have been reading your blog and following you on social media almost since the beginning. It's sad that in this day and age I feel like I have to even say this but I'm so proud of you for being brave enough to post your correct diagnosis on your blog. The part I was referring to was the "being brave" part because it blows my mind that in 2017, the fact that talking freely about mental illness is something that still has stigmas attached (though it's getting better). I didn't read thru all the comments but I honestly believe that the majority are supportive. I've been reading your blog for a long time and I read the comments on every post and they are almost all so supportive of you and only want the best for you. Katie, you have built the most amazing community of people who legitimately care about you and care about each other. I learn a lot from your posts but I also learn a lot just from reading the comments. I'm proud of you for accepting the dr's diagnosis, even tho at first it must have been a bit of a shock. You have educated yourself on the particulars of your diagnosis and you are taking the necessary steps(therapy, medication etc) to get yourself feeling better. EVEN MORE than all that, you are embracing your diagnosis and because of your platform (your blog) you are helping to bring awareness and education about mental health to the public so that maybe someday we won't feel like we need to be "brave" to talk frankly and openly about mental illness. So that someday we will be able to talk as freely about it as we do other illnesses. So that someday, those who are dealing with their own mental illness can reach out to a friend, family member, teacher, counselor,a priest/nun, school principal, therapist or doctor and know they will not be laughed at or talked about behind their backs and they can get the help or direction they need. So that someday, the person who is considering ending their lives because they believe that's the only way to make the pain go away, will realize it's ok to ask for help and a life can be saved.

    Katie, even though I only "know" you through your blog, I can tell that you're a wonderful mother but you are also an incredible role model to your sons. They see you managing your mental health day to day but they are also seeing that you are not afraid of your diagnosis and you are not afraid to talk about accepting it, treating it and helping to take a little of the fear out of talking about mental health...with thousands of strangers nonetheless. If I, a total stranger feel this happy for you I have to believe that the people closest to you are happy to know their wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, sister in law, auntie and all the other labels you are in your personal life, is safe and effectively bringing about a movement of acceptance and change to the social stigmas of mental illness. Excuse my language but that's pretty fucking awesome. Much love to you :)
    Bridgette

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  80. I am going thru the same thing. Always knew that something wasn't right and would go from feeling really down to suddenly feeling great and optimistic when nothing has changed. It was confusing, I'd be happy with life and the next want a divorce and to live alone and hate the world. I am 37 years old and a stay at home mom to two boys ages 3 and 7. I hate living with this, I only wish I'd had known or educated myself earlier. So much makes sense now. I'm still on a antidepressant but have added another o e to it that has shown to be effective in bipolar depression. I'm on day 3 of is antidepressant that works on dopamine instead of only seretonin. Fingers crossed as I hate going down this path of being a guinni pig and giving things a few weeks for the side affects to subside. I may try a mood stabilizer depending on the results of this. It all scares me, but I feel better able to make sense of behaviours, actions, drinking etc.

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  81. Thanks for sharing. My twin sister originally told me about your blog because we have both struggled with binge eating and gaining weight. I read some of your posts and they were helpful. Recently she and I have been talking about our mental health struggles. I have been doing a lot of research and discovered the new research about the bipolar spectrum and I really think I see myself in it. I just started the process of trying to review my diagnosis. I'm happy you are doing better. I hope I can get better too.

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  82. I'm so happy happy that you have been diagnosed correctly. It is so frustrating to have gone through the struggle of getting diagnosed, but it has made your stronger! Here's to a happier and healthier you!

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)