My Story: Kricket

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

When I was young, I always knew something was wrong with me. I kept to myself and animals, and never really had any affection towards anyone.

By the time I reached high school, things had started to change. I would have rapid thoughts, deal with periods of insomnia, quiet spells to where I would hardly speak to anyone. I'd lock my self up in my room. I always called it my "hermit crab" stage. Then from there, my angry stage. I would stay mad for days to months at a time for no reason. Then the depression started to kick in.

It wasn't until I was 19 when I felt something was wrong. I can't explain how but I just knew I wasn't right. I called and made an appointment to go in and talk to someone. It was then I realized I had blocked out a very traumatic experience when I was younger.

I was then diagnosed with anxiety and bipolar 1. It scared me. I didn't know what this meant or how it was going to affect my life after this. I call it my denial stage. Even though I looked normal on the outside, my insides were completely confused and mangled. I didn't know how to respond to the fact I had a disorder, I have an illness, and the struggle was going to be hard for me to over come.

Once I told my family about their findings, they were okay with it, but at the same time, they made me feel as if I was a stranger in my own house. My relationships with family and friends became even harder as I was learning to adjust to the medications they put me on.

I was angry for having to take medicine to make me normal and be able to handle life like everyone else. I didn't and couldn't understand why I was cursed.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

It wasn't until my late 20's until I started to learn more about myself. After years of researching this illness and reading other people's stories, I had to figure out a way for me to be able to teach people about those who were just like me.

I found out that not many people understood this illness and didn't know much about it or didn't know how to help the loved ones they knew, who had it.

My mother was a critical care nurse, and she didn't even recognize the signs and symptoms of my disorder, and that hurt me because, through poems, I reached out to her, but she just saw me as a talented person who can use words to express a feeling.

It made me angry, but I knew I had to figure out a way to help her understand me. I began to pay attention to the change my body and mind made as I transitioned into another episode of bipolar. Once I figured out my symptoms and what they led up to, I told my mom or whoever I was close to at the time, to help them try to understand the changes that I was going through.

Once I learned my stages that I would go through, I shared it with others so they can recognize the symptoms to be better able to 'handle' me.

Yes, there were several people in and out of my life because they couldn't manage my violent outburst, my moodiness, my aggression or my depression stages. I was always fighting with myself and others because they couldn't understand me. Even when I tell them the best way that I knew how to handle me, they couldn't.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

The things that I have accomplished is improving the many hidden talents that I have found deep with myself. I never knew that when I was a teenager dealing with so many rapid thoughts, that I would soon be able to sort them all out and make money off of them.

I have learned to express my every emotion through art or writing, and sometimes, I challenge myself to learn a new hobby such as carpentry.

Making myself learn new things and express my every emotion through my hands has taught me on how to deal with this illness and to focus on how I need to improve on my every day coping skills.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

The things that I have accomplished is improving the many hidden talents that I have found deep with myself. I never knew that when I was a teenager dealing with so many rapid thoughts, that I would soon be able to sort them all out and make money off of them.

I have learned to express my every emotion through art or writing, and sometimes, I challenge myself to learn a new hobby such as carpentry.

Making myself learn new things and express my every emotion through my hands has taught me on how to deal with this illness and to focus on how I need to improve on my every day coping skills.

What's your advice to someone else living with Bipolar?

My advice for someone else out there living with bipolar is to focus on you and learn ways on how to handle all of your mixed emotions.

It took me years for me to realize that the best way for me to be able to express my hurt, anger, and sadness was through art. Showing something in canvas to show exactly how I felt and for people to understand the pain I was living with every day.

Whether it was through art or writing poems or simply designing stuff, I was getting what was bothering me off my shoulders and not hurting myself or anyone around me.

When I would feel a bad episode coming on, I took time off and reflect on what I needed to do, to find my inner peace once again.

My advice for someone else out there living with bipolar is to focus on you and learn ways on how to handle all of your mixed emotions.

Who has been there for you? How?

The only person who has been there for me through this entire journey has been my mom. She has stood by me through some of my darkest days and the worse events of my life.

She is always telling me that I am the strongest person she knows due to the fact I have been through so much but somehow always managed to pull myself right back up stronger than before. At times, I don't see it. The struggle has been hard and very painful for her to see me fight depression and always think about suicide.

Yes, there has been others in my life for brief periods of time during my struggle, but she has been the one who truly has never given up on me and who has always reminded me to stay strong.

My dad was there too, but I don't think he understood the actual struggle that it has been for me.

Is there anything else we should know?

My Story: Kricket

Learning that I have a very common illness and that there are others out there like me, I now teach other people on how you can help a loved one learn to accept the rough ahead of them.

I'm not afraid of people talking bad about me because I educate people on this illness that have claimed so many people's lives.

I tell them that we're not crazy. We just have a chemical imbalance in our brain and the majority of individuals like us have so much talent locked inside of us – we just don't know how to express it due to the rapid thoughts we're always having.

We do try to make it in this world, but so many people are quick to judge us without even trying to understand our thoughts and struggles we have on a daily basis. To some, the simplest task is a walk in the park, but for us, it's like climbing a mountain.

I explain to them that we struggle so much every day to fight the demons in our heads that some of us do choose to give up this fight because so many people can't understand our way of doing things. We are who we are, and we are not a light switch that can be fixed with just one switch. We are humans fighting a battle every day to become like the rest, which to us is normal, whatever that may be.

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