To continue celebrating our Two Year Birthday, we are running A Day In The Life series of all our Defying Shadows writers. We hope this encourages you as you get to know us better! Enjoy!
Name: Charlie Kaplan
Mental Health Struggles: Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, Anorexia, Anxiety
What does an average day look like for you? (Don’t be afraid to share about your mental health struggles!)
I try my best to maintain stability through routine. Both bipolar disorder and ADHD are helped greatly in my situation through keeping a schedule. I’m up by 8:30, and then I take my meds and have some coffee. After that, I work on whatever writing I have to do that day – I blog for the International Bipolar Foundation and I’m a staff writer for NewLifeOutlook ADHD. I also have my two blogs that I update almost daily. Then, I do my school work (I am a graduate student), and exercise. I usually have a lot of reading to do for classes, so that gets done at some point in the day. I finish my day with taking my meds and attempting to go to bed at a decent hour. All of this, of course, is dependent on how stable I am on that particular day. Some days my anxiety is crippling, and others, it’s not so bad. Some days my eating disorder is so loud in my head that I can’t get anything done. Some days my mood is unstable. Some days, my greatest accomplishment is getting out of bed.
What steps do you find help you when struggling with your mental health struggles?
Writing helps. When I’m focused on my work or school then I’m less paralyzed by my illnesses. My dog is also a great source of comfort and gets me through each day.
How do you find your mental health struggles affect those around you?
I think one of the biggest struggles is due to my social anxiety. There are a lot of things we (me and my husband) don’t do because of it. But my husband is such a wonderful support and never complains.
What’s one thing you love about yourself?
I lose myself a lot but I always find my way back.
What are five things you are thankful for (other than family, friends, food and shelter –home)?
My dog (technically family but she is worth mentioning); writing and art; receiving my diagnoses after years of not knowing what was going on; my treatment team; still having my health after years of struggling with anorexia.
How has your life changed for the best from last year?
This time last year I was still newly diagnosed. I’ve come so far mentally. I was paralyzed by anxiety to the point that I couldn’t carry on a conversation and struggled to leave my house. Untreated bipolar disorder was wrecking my life. I couldn’t concentrate. Each diagnosis brought clarity and when I look back it is amazing to see how I’ve changed.
What’s your personal motto?
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” – William Faulkner
What song is most played on your playlist?
Chandelier by Sia
If you had to pick a character from a movie or tv show, who do you relate most to?
I see a lot of myself (pre-diagnosis) in Nina from Black Swan.
What motivates you?
My faith, my husband and dog.
You can follow Charlie on Facebook, Twitter and her personal blog.