Since leaving the ring AJ Mendez, fka AJ Lee, has been working to reduce the stigma against mental illness.

Her latest work appears in Bustle as an op-ed where she opens up about how she deals with depressive episodes brought on by her bipolar disorder.

She writes: “It’s been about a decade since I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder — bipolar II to be exact — a type of mental illness characterized by cycling between mania and depression. And yet the arrival of a cycle still manages to catch me off guard. The sudden onset of a new depressive cycle forces me to scramble into what I call “survival mode.” It’s a state of mind I use to protect myself, to disassociate from the negative energy trying to consume me. While using breathing techniques, I imagine I am somewhere else, somewhere quiet. I constantly repeat to myself, “Survive today. Tomorrow will be different.”….the one thing a depressive cycle cannot distort is my hope for tomorrow.”

Read the heartfelt essay here.

She’s currently working on numerous projects including turning her book into a TV show and advocating for better mental health awareness.

What do you think of her article? Sound off in the comments below.