When will we act on how important we say the brain is? The part of us that determines literally everything we do.
I remember when I was in high school thinking to myself, “that would really suck to be bipolar.. good thing I’m not!!!” And going about my life.
Fast forward 3 years.
Honestly, I’m just tired of people unknowingly lumping me into the loony person category with the movie theater/school shooters of the world. I don’t want to say “woe is me nobody gets me” because apparently there are 5.5 million people in the U.S. who do (and 88 million with all other kinds of mental disorders). My story and struggle is far from unique to me.
I was told by a well-intentioned lady that I should never tell anyone that I’m bipolar because they won’t understand. I took her advice to heart for a while, living ashamed. That people aren’t supposed to be this way and you will be seen as a lesser human who is unreliable in the workplace, probably won’t get married, and just an all around emotional basket case. Most times I still feel like I have to prove my normalcy for a certain period of time before I can reveal my disorder.
I thought about it though.. how will anyone understand if no one talks? So far it seems the “understanding” lies solely in the form of horrifying breaking news headlines. But what about the success stories? I’ll admit, when I’m doing well, I don’t want to think about being bipolar constantly. I often forget until it’s time to take my medication each night. For a different cause, I know I want to remember. I want to remember because I want to help. I want to help because I am forever grateful to those who helped me.
I hate taking my medication—but I’m glad I have it. There are far too many that can’t afford treatment, don’t have families to support them, or both. Resources available are scarce at best compared to what they could be. It can take months to be admitted to a facility for an acute situation or even just to get an appointment with a therapist.
Why is this a back burner issue?
I think we’re just scared. Maybe apathetic. It’s uncomfortable. Even before my diagnosis, nothing made me squirm more than the topic of mental illness. It’s because I knew subconsciously that they were talking about me. I didn’t want to be one of those people. Nope, I’m normal and I don’t struggle. Ever. I’ve got it all under control. Smooth sailing . . . haha lol.
It starts with a conversation and education. Shedding light in the dark areas that no one wants to touch.
Life is a tapestry, where the tucked away warp threads we go through are necessary to eventually make something beautiful of it.
The struggle comes in full force before the healing.
So, all this to say, if you deal with some sort of psychiatric disorder- You are valuable! You are loved. You’re not the only one. Your mental illness does not equal who you are. I believe, though pretty slow and frustrating, meaningful change to stigma and resources for you and for us is ahead.