When I Was Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder, People Thought I Was Cursed

When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2008, at the age of 24, all I wanted to know was whether I would be all right. It was the first time I had ever heard about the condition, and many people around me simply believed that I had been cursed.

Even though my parents sought medical help, the psychiatrist who diagnosed me did not give any information about the illness, the side effects of the medication prescribed for me, or the manic and depressive bouts that I could expect.

My story is not unique. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 out of every 4 people in the world will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime — including depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and substance-induced psychosis.

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