by Tammy Ozolins, for Mental Health Awareness Month
Tammy will be doing at least three (maybe four) more videos for mental health awareness month.
- Video 1: Tammy: Fighting the Stigma of Mental Health
- Video 2: Tammy on accepting her bipolar diagnosis
- Video 3: Tammy’s coping skills for bipolar disorder
Transcript- “Hello my name is Tammy and may is mental health awareness month and I’m here to share my story and I’m also here to help fight the stigma against mental health because we should be very open about it and we need to talk about it especially nowadays we need to talk about it and come together and support each other.
So I manage and cope with bipolar disorder and I am also a suicide attempt survivor. I am also a survivor of self-harm. I used to self-harm by cutting for several years.
Now one thing that I would like to clear up that I help fight with the stigma is
I do not refer bipolar as a mental health illness I refer to it as a mental health condition. the reason why I say that is because to me when I hear the word illness I think of sickness and my brain is not sick my brain just works differently than maybe somebody else’s brain does so that’s one myth right there that I like to fight
another myth is I will hear people say well you have to take a lot of medications no
for me personally, I take one medication, and that it that is it but that’s a huge part of my recovery.
So I’m not ashamed of taking medication if it’s going to make me feel better
which it does then I’m going to take it I also hear that you can’t be successful that is
also false I know for me personally, I am very successful
my full-time job is an educator I also work part-time and I also have I also coach
in the fall so to me, that’s being successful also during the midst of managing and coping with bipolar I remember having some really severe highs and lows during
But I fought through and I was able to accomplish and earn my master’s degree so again that is an accomplishment right there.
I also will hear things such as, “Well you won’t have any friends you’re too crazy.” Again, all false. I have friends that support me and I also have friends that not only do they support me but I can go and talk to. And we’ll talk about that later on but find that support system that will work for you.
Now a little bit about my story.
I felt different when I was in high school especially my senior year. That’s when I started to notice the real mood swings but I wasn’t really diagnosed until early in college. That’s when I was diagnosed, but again I felt these mood swings. I’d either be really happy and be able to stay up for hours and hours and sometimes days on end. And then all of a sudden, I would crash and then I wouldn’t get out of bed I wouldn’t eat, I wouldn’t sleep, nothing.
So I did have a lot of mania and depressive modes and I didn’t know why and I kind of just blamed it on hormones. Then, later on, I finally went to the doctor and I was able to get the help I needed and that’s when I was diagnosed.
So I want to just again help fight the stigma. I will share bits and pieces with my story throughout these videos but those were the main things and number one referred to as a mental health condition, number two you can be successful.”