Ashlee Malleo is opening up about living with bipolar disorder.
“You may not think that I have had many difficulties in my life — but I have,” Malleo, 31, wrote. “These last two years have been especially difficult for me. About almost a month ago, I had a psychotic break. I found myself in a position where I was afraid of myself and my own thoughts. And I chose to finally seek proper help.”
She added that she also went on a social media hiatus.
“During this process of seeking help, I was diagnosed with bipolar II,” Malleo shared, stating that she immediately began taking medication “as I truly feel that I had tried everything else up to that point.”
She said she was initially “in denial” about her diagnosis but also didn’t have enough information about the condition.
“I was so used to hearing bipolar being used as a negative adjective to describe someone. 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,” wrote Malleo. “It was actually a relief to finally have an explanation for certain things.”
Now, Malleo said the diagnosis has given her the power to “take back control.”
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“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.” she wrote.
Calling bipolar disorder “the gift of extraordinary emotions,” Malleo said, “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. 😜.”
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She added that she’s “hopeful” about her future and “where I’ll be a year from now.”
“Life is a journey full of ebbs and flows. Keep going. Be proud of yourself,” she told her followers, ending with a note on the importance of being open about “living with bipolar (and other mental illnessess) so that we can help break down the negative stigmas surrounding mental illness entirely. 🧠🧿✌🏼.”
Malleo’s mother Laurita, 52, was a cast member of Bravo’s RHONJ from seasons 1-7.
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.