Private Banker, Crisis Counselor, Seafood clerk
Living with bipolar 2 disorder

In 2014, Carlito Cabelin faced his greatest fear: himself. It took a year of outpatient treatment for him to conquer that fear and find balance in living with bipolar. Today, Carlito uses daily coping skills to reframe his negative thoughts and emotions. He says, “When you face your worst enemy, you learn to live ‘with’ fear and not to live ‘in’ fear.” Now he has nothing to lose when facing new challenges, whether that be in his career, his role as a crisis counselor, or his personal life.

Carlito’s Story

Briefly, how has your condition impacted your life?  When were you first aware of it?  What was your most difficult time? 

I was first aware of my condition in 2014 but had my suspicions during my sophomore year of college when I took a year off because of depression. Simply put, bipolar creates emotional spikes that, for me, can leave me stuck in depression for as short as a day to as long as a week. Difficult times as such can vary year-to-year or season-to-season. My worst time? Certainly 2014 when I faced my greatest fear: myself. It took the entire year of outpatient treatment to conquer that fear and to find balance by leveling the bipolar.

What is your life like now?  What does success/living well look like for you?

“Today” looks like this: therapy, medication management, and skills. I can move through each day and each battle. I use daily coping skills to catch, ground myself, and capture as many thoughts as I can to reign them in. Once I’ve pinned these thoughts down, then I can think more clearly and reframe every negative thought and emotion.

What help or specific strategies helped you to get well and move to stability?   

This wasn’t easy to chase down, but I’ve learned that you have to be open-minded to all solutions. I revisit my outpatient treatment center whenever I’m struggling with prolonged periods of depression. Usually, it’s when I’m a workaholic. In the interim I go to bipolar meetups where I meet like-minded people and forge new relationships. I discovered that I thrive in group therapy.

What do you do to manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

Like work-life balance, I too must balance my mental wellness. I do this with daily mindful walks while spinning my favorite music on a noise-canceling headset, monthly counseling, daily exercise, meditation, and on occasion, journaling.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?  If so, what?

That’s the crazy thing. Who would’ve imagined that my worst time in 2014 would lead to one of my passions: being a part-time crisis counselor fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves. Bottom line? Coming to the conclusion that if I can forgive myself, then I can help others forgive themselves. Depression is nobody’s fault.

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

I would say the more you struggle the more you are presented with the opportunity to get to know the real you. As E.E. Cummings says, “it takes courage to grow up and be who you really are.”

What motivated you to join The Stability Network?  What do you hope to get from it?

I joined The Stability Network to learn more about both myself and others. Primarily, I’d like to broaden my skills in presenting mental wellness to an audience. Secondarily, whenever you have an open mind to join a community there’s always something to gain.

Are there resources (books, videos, websites) that helped and/or inspired you that you would recommend to others?

There are countless books on mental health. The most valuable resource is people, in my opinion. Hence, I volunteer for organizations that fit my personality and my passion.

Is there anything else you want to share?

Regarding fears, as Winston Churchill said, “Never give in – never, never, never.”