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Accepting My Bipolar Disorder and ADHD Diagnoses

October 24, 2023 Michaela Jarvis

Accepting my attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder diagnoses was difficult for me. Preconceived notions of ADHD and bipolar disorder aren't always very positive. In my recovery journey, it was helpful for me to have a name that encompassed the emotions that had been causing my suffering. Accepting my bipolar disorder and ADHD diagnoses helped me in my recovery from my mental illness.

Accepting My ADHD Diagnosis

The first time my psychiatrist brought up ADHD was after I had brought up recent suicidal ideations. I had originally attributed these unsettling thoughts to a depressive episode. I shared that I wasn't sad per se, but I often felt bored and like nothing would ever be fulfilling.

Growing up, I thought ADHD was a label given to someone who couldn't sit still or was disorganized. When my psychiatrist told me he thought I had ADHD, I was confused. I didn't have a bad work ethic. I didn't grow up bouncing off the walls or distracting a classroom. In my mind, the proposed diagnosis didn't line up.

I was reluctant, but I went through an extensive ADHD screening. Lo and behold, ADHD had been the culprit of some of my symptoms. I had thought I would be angry, but secretly, I felt relieved. I then worked to accept my ADHD diagnosis.

Accepting My Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

When I hear people speaking about bipolar disorder, I often hear it used as, "Oh, the weather has been so bipolar," or "She's so bipolar, she can't make up her mind." To me, bipolar was tied to negative traits. In my mind, bipolar was bad. It was a word used when calling something inconvenient, frustrating, or unreliable. 

Several doctors had given me a bipolar disorder diagnosis. When I took my ADHD assessment, I was alerted that my results were also consistent with bipolar. It came to the point where my bipolar diagnosis was real, and I had to accept that.

Unlearning Stereotypes to Accept My ADHD and Bipolar Diagnoses

Accepting my ADHD and bipolar diagnoses wasn't instant. It took time for me to unlearn the stereotypes I had mentally created surrounding these terms. Stereotypes can be extremely harmful and prevent you and others from seeking help. Here's a video diving a bit further into why unlearning these stereotypes was important.

Why Accepting Bipolar and ADHD Diagnoses Helps

Once I was able to face the reality of my situation, I found relief. I had been frustrated with my thoughts, feelings, and actions. Knowing that it wasn't a case of me just being "weak-willed" or "too emotional" and that others had shared this experience gave me peace. I felt less lonely and guilty.

Once I accepted my ADHD and bipolar diagnoses, I had titles to share with my family and friends. This made it easier for them to understand what I was going through. My loved ones started doing their own research on my illnesses and educated themselves on how they could support me. My circle became stronger.

Additionally, I was able to tailor my treatments to fit my diagnoses. My therapy strategy changed, my medications were adjusted, and my habits were re-evaluated. These changes made a massive impact on my quality of life.

Accepting my ADHD and bipolar disorder diagnoses helped me unlearn stereotypes, relieve myself from the guilt of thinking I was "built wrong," create a more strategic recovery plan, and help communicate my symptoms. A diagnosis is not a death sentence or a negative label. Instead, it can be a powerful tool to help you reach the next step in your mental illness recovery journey.

APA Reference
Jarvis, M. (2023, October 24). Accepting My Bipolar Disorder and ADHD Diagnoses, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2023/10/accepting-my-bipolar-disorder-and-adhd-diagnoses



Author: Michaela Jarvis

Michaela Jarvis is continuously on her road to self-improvement while managing bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the life challenges that come with being in your 20s. Find Michaela on Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website.

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