A lot of stigma haunts mental illness. Sometimes it’s even worse after a person gets a diagnosis.
Every time someone uses their platform to educate others and share their story, they make a positive change.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey Alum Jacqueline Laurita’s daughter, Ashlee Malleo, has grown a lot since her reality TV days.
Now she shares her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and what it means to her.
Ashlee, 31, posted a lengthy caption on Instagram this week.
“I’ll probably tell you more about this in time,” she suggested.
“For now,” Ashlee acknowledged, “Instagram only allows the captions to be that long lol.”
“You may not think I’ve had much trouble in my life,” Ashlee suggested, “but I have.”
“These last two years have been particularly difficult for me,” she admitted.
“About almost a month ago,” Ashlee revealed, “I had a psychotic attack.”
Ashlee recalled, “I was in a position where I was afraid of myself and my own thoughts.”
“And,” she said, “I chose to finally seek the right help.”
Ashlee pointed out that “I also took a short break from social media.”
“During this process of seeking help, I was diagnosed with bipolar II,” Ashlee announced.
“I made the personal choice to start medication right away,” she said.
Ashlee made this choice “because I really feel like I’d tried everything else up to that point.”
“I think I’ve been in denial about this diagnosis for a long time,” Ashlee confessed.
“However,” she objected, “I’ve never been knowledgeable about all the other aspects of being bipolar either.”
Ashlee noted, “I was so used to bipolar being used as a negative adjective to describe someone.”
“I always thought it just had something to do with mood swings,” Ashlee admitted.
In reality, she explained, “It’s SO much more.”
“And,” Ashlee discovered, “a lot of things in my life started to make sense.”
“It was actually a relief to finally have an explanation for certain things,” Ashlee said.
“It gave me the strength to learn more about it,” she said.
“And,” Ashlee wrote at the time, it has allowed us to “take back control.”
“I’m not ashamed of my diagnosis,” Ashlee declared triumphantly.
“And,” she affirmed, “I won’t let anyone try to embarrass me about it.”
Ashlee then warned, “I also won’t let anyone use my diagnosis as a scapegoat to mistreat me.”
“I see bipolar disorder as the gift of extraordinary emotions,” Ashlee said.
“It has given me a level of resilience that I really needed growing up,” she praised.
Ashlee added, “It has enabled me to withstand all the obstacles the universe throws at me.”
“I’m strong,” Ashlee guessed.
“It’s helped me to be imaginative, empathetic, and adaptive,” she wrote.
“And,” Ashlee continued, “it definitely contributed to my great sense of humor in some way.”
“This is just another chapter in my life,” Ashlee summed up.
“I’m curious and hopeful to see where I will be in a year,” she said.
Ashlee then characterized that “Life is a journey full of ebb and flow.”
“Go on,” Ashlee encouraged. “Be proud of yourself.”
“I think it’s important for us to talk about all of our individual experiences,” she noted.
“So,” Ashlee concluded, “we can help completely break the negative stigmas surrounding mental illness.”