“Hi, my name is Shalimar, and I wear black and white stripes to create awarness for Bipolar Disorder.
My story begins like many others with Bipolar Disorder: I was diagnosed with major depression at a young age (13 years old) and was treated solely for depression for many years. I experienced my first manic episode at age 21, when I was studying psychology at a university. It was actually what psychologists call a “mixed” episode, which meant I was experiencing both mania and depression at the same time. At the time, I was riddled with crippling anxiety, severe mood swings, racing thoughts, delusions, and suicidal ideation.
Because I was being treated for just depression at the time, my condition worsened. But I found solace in creating poetry and art. As I learned more about psychology, I became more aware of my illness. For a class assignment, I read the autobiography of a woman with bipolar I who roughed it through grad school and became a clinical psychologist who treats bipolar patients. I found her story so inspirational that I decided that I want to spend my life helping others with mental illnesses.
So I threw myself into my studies and graduated with my degree. I pursued and even obtained a more specialized degree, so I could practice psychology in schools and help children with all kinds of disabilities, especially emotional/behavioral.
So much has changed since my first manic episode. My symptoms have been in remission for almost a year now. I am very strict with taking my meds and I have the support of my psychiatrist, therapist, family, friends, and significant other.
Something I leaned over my journey is the importance of a medication regime. Accepting that I will have to take meds indefinitely is not easy. We all want to be independent and fix things ourselves. Sometimes we just need a little help, and that’s ok!
Know that if you wear these stripes and have Bipolar Disorder, you are NOT alone.” @shalimar.jpeg