Fashionista Uses Social Media to Open Up About Bipolar
On the outside, someone can appear to be happiest people in the world. But inside their head they may be screaming, crying, and using all their strength just to take their next step forward. Fashion blogger and founder of Ban.do Jen Gotch, made an honest announcement to her fans through social media about her mental health. She publicized that she was taking medication to help manage her Bipolar Disorder.
Ban.do is a fashion and lifestyle brand selling a variety of products from doormats and earrings to phone cases. Gotch is seen as relatable and humble by her Instagram following of over 170K followers. She recently posted a photo of herself holding a little white pill along with a personal message to her followers:
“23 years ago when I was 23 a doctor gave me Prozac. He was trying to help. I was in a very dark place in my mind and at that particular time if you were sad and didn’t hear voices you pretty much got Prozac. I felt better after I took it for quite a while and then I felt worse. A lot worse. I went into therapy and over many years met with 6 other doctors as they all tried a ton of different drug cocktails to get me to a place where I could actually function. No one got it right. It was a scary, uncertain, lonely time for me. I felt misunderstood by everyone around me including the doctors that I was paying to help me, and that was incredibly alienating. Then a lightbulb. What if I was actually Bipolar and not just Depressed? I saw a new Doctor, he confirmed the diagnosis that my therapist and I thought and prescribed a two drug combination that changed my life. CHANGED MY LIFE!!! I stayed on those drugs for about 10 years. I got myself together. I got married, I started a company and then I stopped taking the drugs. It was an accident – I went on a 5 day trip and forgot them- but I felt fine so. . . I stopped. I felt fine for years. I was convinced my brain chemistry had changed and I could manage, but this is a common trap for people with mental illness and I fell right in. With Andrew being gone I’ve had a lot of alone time. Like a lot. You watch my stories. You know! I realized I wasn’t ok and I was just scared and prideful and ashamed that I hadn’t miraculously risen above it. That I hadn’t evolved beyond my physiology. I’m still suffering. So I’m starting to take medicine for it again. I wanted you to know because you have supported me and encouraged me and helped me realize what was going on and that it was ok. I’ll keep you posted every step of the way, since I know this will be useful for so many of you that are suffering, too…”
One can have all the success in the world but we can never really know if that person is truly happy. Social media has become this incredible place where these celebrities and entrepreneurs, with these huge reaches, allow us to peer into their minds and share how they overcame the challenges that were placed in front of them. This can have a huge impact on people. If someone sees their idol has dealt with similar issues and have come out on the other side a better person, it provides then with hope and encouragement that they can do the same as well. I think this is what Gotch intended this to be used for. She wanted people to know that they aren’t alone. That there are many out there who are suffering as well and it is ok to seek help…and if medicine could help you be a happier person and live a better life why wouldn’t you consider it.
This piece is based on an article by Elise Solé for Yahoo Lifestyles, which can be seen here.
Bret Segall-Abrams graduated from North Carolina State University in 2015 where he studied Sport Management and Business Administration. He is currently pursuing a career in sports marketing and management. Along with assisting the Different Brains team with marketing and media content he is also a tour guide for Vermont Biking Tours where he leads week long bicycle tours from Charleston, South Carolina to Savannah, Georgia during the Fall and Spring months.