Mental illness affects some 57 million people in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. Yet it’s still a taboo subject for many. Afraid of being stigmatized or shunned, people with mental disorders often keep quiet, not letting their friends or family know about their struggles. When a public figure does open up about the subject – whether it’s her own battle with depression or having a parent with a personality disorder – it’s a huge move.
So Kailyn Lowry deserves a round of applause for going public with her own story. Yesterday, the Teen Mom 2 star revealed to Starcasm that she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
The condition is characterized by unstable and extreme mood swings varying from depression to a “high” state of joy, agitation and impulsive behavior.
Kail was motivated to seek help after an incident in which she “[let] my emotions get the best of me,” she tells the site. Although she can’t reveal details (the story will likely play out on the show this season), she says she did things that were humiliating to her then-boyfriend, Jose “Javi” Marroquin, and his family.
The couple patched things up, and the future looks bright for them. They married in a private ceremony in September, and Javi is about to begin a career with the Air Force. They plan a bigger wedding when he comes back from basic training.
Most important, Kail is getting treatment, which includes medication to manage her symptoms. Bipolar disorder isn’t curable, but it can be controlled over the long term.
Now she has one more important step to take: telling her son. Isaac is only 3, but when he’s older, he’ll need to know that he has a family history of mental illness. According to the NIMH, children who have a parent with bipolar disorder are four to six times more likely to develop it themselves – and both Kail and her mother have it.
Kail should also be alert to signs of the disorder in her child, such as unusual irritability or sleeplessness, eating too much or too little, prolonged feelings of sadness or worthlessness and loss of interest in activities.
This young reality star has already helped millions of fans by opening her life to the cameras and showing what life is like for pregnant teens. Now she can help millions more by sharing her story and helping take the shame out of mental illness.
For more on bipolar disorder, visit the NIMH site.
[Photo: via PacificCoastNews]
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