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Annisa Swanson


Annisa Swanson, just shy of FIFTY! Most of my life has been encompassed by mental illness. Many family members have battled chronic depression as well as my own struggle with mental illness.

I am a survivor of childhood sexual assault. I have battled depression most of my life, although, as a child and teen, I didn’t have the words to identify it. I sought counseling and treatment fairly early into adulthood, however, the full breadth of my diagnosis wasn’t uncovered until after I turned forty. I have found resolution, and a certain degree of peace, in now having the answer; PTSD and Bipolar II Disorder.

I sought counseling with church leaders and clinicians. While one particular church leader shamed me for taking meds and not praying enough, a clinician stated that I should receive an award for all that I have endured. This, the juxtaposition of treatment and opinions, would be the roller coaster of much of my adulthood. Much of my adult years were filled with one medication after another and counselor after counselor. When I was ultimately challenged to see a psychiatrist (around the age of forty), I was fearful of what would finally bubble to the surface. Little did I know, that what would bubble up was freeing and empowering.

I don’t see my Bipolar Disorder or PTSD diagnosis as a label or disclaimer, it is NOW the beautiful ability to exhale and know that life is complex and albeit sometimes manic, it is truly magical. I know the seasons are not predictable, they are manageable. When the time is revealed to take meds, I do so without fear. I write often about my struggles and find more solidarity than isolation. I choose to not live in fear of the darkness, but to offer what little bit of light I can.

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