(90 sec read) I taught myself how to code over 6 months while completely manic (high functioning illness). Then opened my own business and was immediately profitable. But the point isn’t me: the point is achieving tangible results while “sick”. You can’t fudge code.

The tragedy is this occurred before my useless bipolar diagnosis, when confidence was SpaceX high. It would have never happened post-diagnosis; my mojo obliterated by stigma without offering any returns of value.

I was trained in therapy to forever and always avoid manic states at all costs. Drastic measures were taken to make this happen, including (lots of) meds and therapy. And I’m yet to regain my original spark.

Every happy eager thought I have now gets immediately undermined with manic doubt. People (who know) take my initiatives less serious, often dismissing me entirely. Legitimate business ideas now fall uselessly ignored, critiqued overzealous and manic.

I eventually went bankrupt, despite my business acumen and knack for code. I get asked advice less, and am generally taken less serious. It’s been damaging. I wish I could take the diagnosis back. It gained me only pain and dismissal.

I am pro meds and pro therapy, and am never recommending anyone seek mania intentionally. That can cause a lot of problems and even be dangerous/deadly. But in my case, after 30 years undiagnosed, I had adapted significantly to compensate my life successfully. A haphazard diagnosis I never asked for took this all away, throwing me off balance something fierce.

I have been learning how to walk again since; the therapist who diagnosed me long gone into the ether treatment onto the next, completely detached from the reality her detrimental diagnosis had on my life.

Always reconsider the risks of diagnosing high functioning madness. If the title doesn’t impact treatment, avoid the stigma causing titles entirely. Or at least discuss the very real risks extensively. It cost me my dignity, a business, relationships, and a large part of my family. The more I get dismissed, the angrier and more damaged I become.

Losing my voice is exactly why I’m here and writing. The whole tragedy was easily preventable. Mental health is broken, and mental health broke me. I am hoping to help others avoid this same mistake. It almost cost my life.

I wrote the following article to that diagnosing therapist: The Dangers of Diagnosing High Functioning Madness; A Letter to My First Therapist.

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