Special Episode: Overcoming Mental Health Stigma

For years Joanna was mis-diagnosed with anxiety and depression and placed on anti-depressant medications that didn’t work for her. After a mental crisis, however, she saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with Bipolar II Disorder. “The terror of the diagnosis turned into a gift,” Joanna recounts. She educates listeners about some of the characteristics of Bipolar II such as 1) “mixed features” of hypomania—heightened emotional or energetic state—and depression which present simultaneously, and 2) rapid cycling which is four or more episodes in a year. “It’s easy to ‘pass’ with Bipolar II and the world not know you’re suffering,” she adds. Joanna touches on the difficulties people may face receiving a correct diagnosis due to stigma, gendered bias, and similar symptoms with other mental disorders. For those living with mental illness, Joanna offers numerous suggestions for navigating through the healthcare system and the importance of finding support and trusting your gut.

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