Community//

The Reality of Living with ADHD and Bipolar 2

Snapchat star of the Mind Yourself series opens up about her mental health journey from surviving to thriving.

Growing up, I always felt like there was something off about me. My personality varied based on my ever-changing moods, you either loved me or hated me. I felt so different from my peers. I couldn’t concentrate on any one subject, task or project like the others. Horrible at time management, I would overpromise and underdeliver. Some would take my lack of focus as rude, little did they know I was struggling inside. I was not put together, I always had some sort of wardrobe malfunction and my stuff was always disorganized or missing. Some saw this as careless, but it wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just didn’t have the capacity to notice. I was terrible at making decisions as I would either make one impulsively or not make one at all because I had trouble making up my mind. I talked a little too much and said things before thinking it through that many others wouldn’t dare say. Take for example me sharing the fact that I have both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder 2 to everyone on the internet.

This was not something I was always comfortable sharing, especially since I didn’t know for more than half my life that I even had ADHD and Bipolar 2. It wasn’t until I took psychology in college that I discovered the characteristics I listed above actually had a name and it was ADHD. I became so intrigued by the idea that I wasn’t the only one dealing with the challenges I have dealt with all my life. I vividly remember thinking, “You mean to tell me there have been others like me this whole time?!” This made me both scared and relieved. I was scared because I didn’t want to believe I actually had a mental illness but at the same time relieved in knowing that I wasn’t alone. I was relieved in knowing that I had other stories to reference and that resources exist for people like me.

It took years after that psychology class (and a car accident due to inattentiveness) for me to finally admit that I might truly have ADHD after researching more on my own and observing my symptoms worsen. I diagnosed myself with ADHD and decided I needed to seek help. I looked up support groups for ADHD and found one in my neighborhood I could attend. I was nervous as I didn’t know what to expect. I surely didn’t expect that decision would change my life. In an hour and a half, I related so much to a group of strangers as if I’ve known them forever. The stories they shared hit so close to home and after sharing a few of my own, I felt like I belonged for once. They guided me through the steps I needed to take to meet with a doctor and get an official diagnosis.

After getting diagnosed with ADHD, I continued to do more research and really studied my behaviors, moods and habits. The diagnosis helped me to get to know myself better but I hadn’t told others to allow them to understand me better. I was afraid of what my friends and family might think. I didn’t want my diagnosis to seem like an excuse for my shortcomings. Once I decided to share this part of me, I made it a point to never use it as a crutch but rather as an explanation that hopefully make sense to others. Unfortunately, it didn’t make sense to some of the most important people of my life – my parents. They had never heard of ADHD and thought it was a made up thing. In bringing this up however, my mom suggested that I might have Bipolar Disorder instead. 

This was hard for me to accept since I wasn’t too familiar with Bipolar Disorder and I was still coming to terms with my ADHD diagnosis. I chose to explore it anyway. I didn’t go to my doctor specifically asking about Bipolar Disorder but instead requested a general psych evaluation. The doctor found that I may actually have both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder 2. This is something I am still trying to process and navigate through til this day.

My mental health journey has been an interesting one but in my willingness to seek the help I need, I have gone from surviving to thriving. I continue to study how to work with my conditions instead of letting them work against me. Thanks to my diagnoses, I learned so much about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. I’ve learned that there’s honestly nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to my mental health. I hope sharing my story inspires others to pursue their own mental wellness so that we can all thrive together and erase any stigma.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Well-Being//

Living as a Muslim American Woman and Overcoming Multiple Mental Illnesses:

by Saima Shamsi
Community//

Sharing My Mental Health Story for Mental Health Awareness Month

by Jo Jackson
Community//

My body left work

by Christine Westermark

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.