Karla Katrina, 34, Philippines

***TRIGGER WARNING*** mentions suicidal thoughts
“It took a long time for me to accept that I have to live with mental illness and have to deal with the stigma behind it.
I am a mother of three from the Philippines, a country where people living with Mental Disorders are stigmatized and stereotyped.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder, MDD, OCD, and BPD.
I grew up with an easy life but my childhood was never “normal”. I knew then that something was wrong with me but I couldn’t figure it out. I could say I was already dissociating at an early age.
Growing up, having my own family, failed marriage and from that, I saw that life was never easy. The alarming symptoms of mental disorders manifested already. Depression, mania, paranoia, anxiety, psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts and ideations.
I was able to manage to be the best mother I could be, until I began to hear voices telling me to kill myself. There was a time that I almost jumped from a footbridge but I was able to resist the impulse. I endured another year of paranoia, anxiety and depression until I decided to see a psychiatrist when I felt that I could harm myself because of constant suicidal thoughts.
I can no longer count how many times I tried to kill myself. I have been in and out of Mental Hospitals or Psychiatric Wards and yet I am still alive. Maybe not only for my kids but for a purpose and that is to make people aware that depression or any mental illness is real. People like us suffer not by choice but because it is an illness just like cancer or diabetes.
I am mocked but never ashamed. I chose to continue my therapy and psychotropic medications, not because it could cure me, but to fight the greatest battle of my life and to continue my duties as a mother.
And I am trying to smile to all those who are saying that they are with me and that they understand me. Thank you so much but I am in a much different situation. To be diagnosed with Mental Illness and live with the stigma behind it is another story.
I am unstable but still able. I may be facing stigma and discrimination but one day, they will be reading my story and see what badass of a woman I am.
You are enough, my dear. Even if all you can do for a day is to breathe. Remember, you are more than your diagnose.”


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