Lauren Krouse experienced a severe depressive episode at 18 due to the guilt of her parent’s debt for her college education.

Content note: This story includes mentions of suicidal ideation.

This post originally appeared in SELF, by Lauren Krouse.

Overwhelmed by a heavy course load, internship, and two part-time jobs, she struggled with suicidal thoughts. Initially blaming her mental health on her environment, she resisted her bipolar disorder diagnosis, which she associated with negative stereotypes.

After years of unsuccessful treatments and losing faith in her psychiatrist, Krouse reconsidered her diagnosis in her early 30s amidst the pandemic’s challenges. Recognizing her symptoms while reporting on bipolar disorder, she sought help and began mood-stabilizing medications and therapy. Gradually, her life improved, and she embraced her diagnosis as a path to healing and stability.

The journey to acceptance was challenging and ongoing. If you’re navigating similar struggles, these tips might help:

  1. Explore acceptance with support. Acceptance doesn’t mean you’re broken; it means acknowledging your condition and seeking change. A therapist can help you develop healthier perspectives and strategies.
  2. Learn about your diagnosis. Understanding your condition is crucial. Educate yourself with resources and ask your provider clarifying questions. Build a support system that knows your triggers and coping strategies.
  3. Mourn your losses. Grieve the life you might have had without your mental health struggles. It’s okay to miss the “good” aspects of your condition while acknowledging the benefits of stability.
  4. Connect with others. Peer support groups can offer empathy and shared experiences, reducing isolation and fostering a sense of belonging.
  5. Define yourself beyond your diagnosis. Engage in hobbies and interests that bring you joy and reinforce your identity beyond your mental health condition.
  6. Share your story. Whether it’s confiding in a friend or journaling, sharing your experiences can be a powerful step toward acceptance.

Head over to SELF to read the original post by Lauren Krouse.