Recent Posts

Recent Comments



Last fall, I was diagnosed with several mental illnesses that shaped my mental health support, therapy, and treatment plans. Psychiatrists diagnosed me with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, an unspecified eating disorder, and bipolar disorder. Through my own experiences, I’ve learned that getting a health diagnosis can be challenging–but it can be relieving at the same time. For some, it may give them the answers they need to get treatment, receive support, and ultimately feel better. However, others may avoid seeking a diagnosis due to difficult feelings such as fear, shame, or even denial. 

Now that I have been going to therapy for over a year, I’m learning how to navigate all of the diagnoses that come my way. My latest diagnosis was bipolar disorder. Specifically, I have been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder which is a mood disorder on the bipolar spectrum. It is characterized by at least one episode of hypomania and at least one episode of major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Unlike Bipolar I, my episodes have never reached mania.

Since receiving my bipolar disorder diagnosis, I have been more diligent about tracking my mood. I find it difficult to journal my mood in a notebook every day, so I started using an app to track my feelings. I also recognized how important it is for me to prioritize sleep and stick to a routine.

A diagnosis can be an important tool for many people. It may help doctors and therapists advise you on treatment options and help you understand your symptoms. It also provides a sense of community because you can discuss your symptoms and diagnoses with people going through similar experiences. Unlike a physical diagnosis, there is no medical test that can provide a mental illness-related diagnosis of mental illness. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, once other medical conditions are ruled out, a person might be referred to a mental health professional who will use The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 

Every diagnosis has led me to work on new aspects of myself. I have a better understanding of triggers that can send me into a depressive or hypomanic episode. I’m also working to adopt healthier coping mechanisms that help stabilize my mood. For me, that looks like journaling, exercising, talking to friends, and painting to express my feelings. 

While I have discussed and explored the possibility of medications with psychiatrists, I haven’t taken any to date. I’m currently working on stabilizing my mood and managing my mental health through lifestyle and behavioral changes. Specifically, I have regulated my sleep and exercise while also making sure to devote time to my hobbies such as skateboarding and reading. However, I’m open to the idea of medication and will reconsider it in the future if I feel I need it at any point in my mental health journey. 

For some people, medication may be the next best step after a diagnosis. For others, it may be dialectical behavior therapy, psychotherapy, or lifestyle changes. It’s important to remember that there’s no “one size fits all” approach to mental wellness. People respond differently to treatment and what works for one person may not work for others.

Finally, it can be helpful to remember that a diagnosis isn’t necessarily forever. Similar to other illnesses, psychiatric disorders can vary in duration or intensity and people can see a full recovery from an episode of mental illness, according to Psychology Today. Even chronic conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can be managed well with proper treatment and support. 

While mental health diagnoses can be scary, they may also help people get the treatment they need. A diagnosis is simply a tool for people to understand themselves and their behaviors moving forward. It’s okay to reach out for help and consult a professional for a diagnosis. Learning more about an illness can be a life-changing step in many people’s mental health journey.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call, text, or chat with the Lifeline at 988 or


There are no comments.