Certified Peer Support Specialist and Freelance Writer
Living with bipolar disorder

After pulling an all-nighter in college, Amabel began experiencing mania, delusional thoughts and paranoia. It was the onset of bipolar disorder. Today, she is a confident professional devoted to serving others who have mental health conditions.

Amabel’s Story

What was your most difficult time?

The onset of my illness. Being in control was a key part of my life. When things spun out of control, I lost the sense of who I was. I shunned myself, ashamed at the invisible demon that had transformed me from within. I felt alone, alienated and strange. I thought God was punishing me for something I didn’t know I did.

What helped you get well and move to stability?

Through treatment, counseling and medication I became more educated on bipolar disorder. The most important aspects of my recovery have been following the recommendations of my physicians and counselors. Staying on a routine, exercising, eating well, meditating, sleeping regularly and journaling daily have been imperative.

How do you manage your condition and stay healthy?

I exercise several times a week, limit alcoholic beverages and surround myself with positive, inspirational people. I take my medications as prescribed, keep on top of my lab checkups and stay consistent with psychiatry and psychotherapy appointments.

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours?

Get to know your body. Find out what your biorhythms are – including when you know you need rest or need a snack.

Read all you can about your diagnosis. Seek out the best help possible. Have an open mind. Be open to different practices and approaches to your care.

Be a conscientious consumer. Question the type of care you receive, including the medications you are prescribed. Can you take a lower dose while still obtaining results with your symptoms? Ask!

Find your voice and ways to release what you carry within your head and heart.

If you could go back and do something over, what would it be?

I would keep loving myself. Even though I didn’t know who I was – or who I was becoming – I would embrace that person and tell her it was going to be okay.