Hey guys, it’s Hannah. First up, I hope you’re having an awesome summer so far. I’m having a great summer. It’s really humid here in the deep south. I’m five minutes away from my face just completely melting off. But it is so important for you to know what my life looked like prior to this image you see and you know this tone I carry when I speak about bipolar 2. “Hey. My name is Hannah. I have bipolar 2. I’m not ashamed.” You know, that kind of attitude did not come overnight. And I think it’s important to take you back a couple of years and share moments with you that will help you get a better idea of how difficult it was. So I’m going to share with you a story that really shows how hard it was for me to actually reveal my diagnosis to anyone. It was never on my bucket list to reveal my diagnosis of bipolar 2 disorder. I thought that it would be easy just to hide it. I went home after the mental hospital. I started working two jobs. Finding myself as an individual. And life was great. But I had this hidden secret. And I really became curious about my diagnosis. So I started volunteering for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I did not even tell them that I had a diagnosis. I told them that I had a family member that had it. So that was awkward when they found out that I did. A woman named Jennifer who worked at NAMI at the time… she’s one of the biggest reasons why I’m actually sitting right here today. She cornered me in her office. It was like, “I know you have a story.” So finally, I was like, “Okay, I have bipolar disorder. Over the next couple of months, she just started encouraging me to speak at this event. And finally, I accepted. I mean public speaking has never been an issue. So I felt like I was prepared… Until I walked in the door and I was 40 minutes away from speaking. I mean I sprinted to the bathroom like a gazelle and like got sick over the toilet, if you know what I’m saying, for like 15 minutes. Got up. Washed my hands. Looked at my pale face in the mirror and just said: “You have the opportunity to live a normal life and you’re choosing to put yourself at this kind of risk. What the hell are you doing? Keep it hidden and get the hell out of here.” So I went towards the door until I saw beautiful Jennifer waving to me. And despite what stigma tells you, you know I am selfless. So I went up to that podium, introduced myself, and said the sentence: “I have a diagnosis of bipolar 2 disorder.” And the minute the R came out, I completely – I broke down in a cry that I didn’t think was humanly possible. And people just didn’t know what was going on. A woman had to come up to stage and basically help me off. To which I sprinted out the door pretty much again. These people probably thought I just love to run. Forrest Gump status. But that moment taught me that bipolar disorder was a part of my life and that hiding it was going to reduce my chances of living in authentic life. Which meant, you know, a good life. To anyone out there, I’ve been in a dark place and felt like I was screaming for help and no one could hear me. And there was a time where I thought this life – being honest, accepting my flaws and everything about me would never happen. And I’m still a work in progress. And it’s my story, whether it’s good or bad. And if people don’t like it, that’s not my problem. I don’t wait on other people to tell me something is good anymore to know that it is good. And I trust myself to know when I’m being over the line. But that is my life. That’s my life. And these videos, your comments and response videos, really show the strength and beauty and color of this community. So sharing this on your Facebook or your Twitter could potentially reach someone who has lost hope. And we want to bring them into our community because they deserve to be here. So please subscribe to my YouTube
channel. And I can’t wait to see you next week. Bye.