In this Friends in the Fight Series, we feature amazing warriors from around the world who have experienced health setbacks. They share with us their challenges and triumphs to inspire fellow Friends in the Fight. This month we are featuring Rae Rose, a creative mom with Bipolar 1.
Please tell us a bit about yourself (not related to your illness).
I’m a mom, a writer, an advocate, a wife. I make things and I raise caterpillars in Southern California.
What is your illness? When did you find out?
One of my illnesses is Bipolar 1. I also have a Traumatic Brain Injury from a stroke and brain surgery but that’s another story. I was 18 years old when I found out I was Bipolar, and the doctor told me that I would need to be on birth control because I could never have kids. I believed him.
What was the first thing you did after you were diagnosed?
Cry. I ran through an avocado field screaming. “Bipolar” is a scary word — or at least it was to me at first.
What were your biggest fears? What challenges did you experience?
I thought that if I did have a baby, I would murder my child. That’s what the doctor seemed to be saying. At first, before I got on disability, my pills were hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month. I was afraid my family would go broke because of my illness. I didn’t think I’d ever have a job.
How did you overcome these challenges?
After a lot of self-reflection and therapy, I had a baby. I can’t believe that these precious moments were almost stolen from me just because some doctor thought that all bipolar women should remain childless.
I recently started a blog, www.larkbloom.com, where I publish articles about disability, creativity and family. Being on disability changed a lot for me. I was able to move to my own apartment and develop social skills, and I did not have to use my family’s money for the medication I needed.
How did your friends and family help you?
It took a minute, but now all of my family and friends are very supportive. There was a lot to learn about my illness (and then more to learn about my other illnesses), but they came through like champs and I’m so grateful!
What’s your best advice for fellow Friend in the Fight? *
Find a way to believe in yourself.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who is not educated about your illness and refuses to get educated, are they really worth that pain? I no longer talk to the people who think that all I need are herbs or yoga to be well. They are not worth it. Anyone toxic? Nope. I have enough to deal with.
Find things that make you happy and invest your energy there!
Want to connect with other members of the community? Join us in our Friends in the Fight group! We’d love to know more about your story and how we can help each other.