"I am not ashamed of my diagnosis… I will also not allow anyone to use my diagnosis as a scapegoat to treat me poorly."
Ashlee Malleo is getting candid about her mental health by sharing her bipolar diagnosis.
The "Real Housewives of New Jersey" alum took to Instagram to get honest about her journey with bipolar disorder.
"You may not think that I have had many difficulties in my life — but I have. These last two years have been especially difficult for me. About almost a month ago, I had a psychotic break," Malleo began. "I found myself in a position where I was afraid of myself and my own thoughts. And I chose to finally seek proper help. I took a short break from social media as well. During this process of seeking help, I was diagnosed with bipolar II."
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She had "made the personal choice to begin medication right away" after she "had tried everything else up to that point." Before getting an official diagnosis, she admitted that she had been "in denial for a very long time."
Previous to recognizing her condition, Ashlee had never been properly educated about the disorder and cited the negative stigma around the word "bipolar" as a reason for never fully understanding the affliction.
"I was so used to hearing bipolar being used as a negative adjective to describe someone," Malleo continued. "I always thought it was just something related to mood swings. It is SO much more, and a lot of things in my life started to make sense."
Ashlee said that her diagnosis comes as a relief, as she's able to "take back control" of her life and have an "explanation for certain things."
"I am not ashamed of my diagnosis. And I will not allow anyone to try to make me feel ashamed of it. I will also not allow anyone to use my diagnosis as a scapegoat to treat me poorly."
The TV personality called her "bipolar disorder as the gift of extraordinary emotions," explaining that, "It has given me a level of resiliency that I very much needed growing up. It has made me capable of withstanding whatever obstacles the Universe throws at me. I am strong. It has contributed to me being imaginative, empathetic, adaptive — and it's definitely contributed to my great sense of humor in some way. 😜"
"This is just yet another chapter of my life. I'm curious and hopeful to see where I'll be a year from now. Life is a journey full of ebbs and flows. Keep going. Be proud of yourself," Ashlee concluded. "I think it's important for us to speak about all of our individual experiences living with bipolar (and other mental illnesses) so that we can help break down the negative stigmas surrounding mental illness entirely. 🧠🧿✌🏼."