Meet Subrina, a masters graduate from @Columbia University and the daughter of #WestIndian immigrants from #LongIsland, #NewYork. Subrina is determined to use her experience with mental illness to help end the stigma and help others.
Here’s her story:
12 years ago, at 16 years old, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Prior to my diagnosis I searched for answers to explain my paranoia, depression and anxiety. My parents dismissed my symptoms and emotions as “dramatic” until they became overwhelmingly physical and when I finally had an explanation I, along with my parents, still had no understanding of what being bipolar meant. Mental health was so foreign to us. Over the years, through therapy and my amazing psychiatrist I began to understand how to cope with the symptoms of my disorder. Accepting medication was my first challenge and it truly was a lesson I needed to learn on my own. But it was one of the most meaningful lessons of my life: simply, medication makes me the version of myself. Accepting the fact that I would be taking medication for the rest of my life was major step in my wellness but I still had to accept my disorder; that was my greatest challenge. I spent 8 years battling with my own self-loathing thoughts as I worked towards acceptance of my disorder. Bipolar disorder is like a tennis match in your brain but you’re both players. That’s probably why I’ve had such a long road to acceptance; there have been so many times I have doubted myself, my decisions and my disorder itself. There are still moments where I doubt myself; there are still times where I doubt my wellness and mostly there are times where I grow so frustrated and overwhelmed with pain that I find my self back in that same closet crying. But now I understand. I understand that pain and crying is part of my normalcy; it is part of my stability. It is part of the balance that I have fought so hard to attain. Not all days are full of smiles; some days I have to cry, some days I have to scream. And for me being comfortable with my smiles, screams and tears, well, that’s acceptance.