I grew up in tortured silence. I knew if I was committed to a mental facility, that would be it for me. I could not endure another major upset or trauma. It was this silence that caused my issues to reside deep inside until they could not hide anymore and I finally sought help as an adult. I am bipolar with phsycotic features. Sounds scary huh? If you know me in real life, you would be schocked to know what I quietly struggle with. When people joke about hearing voices, in my life, I wish it were just a joke (although I do joke too). Sometimes I feel I am being watched only to glance over and see a shadow out of the corner of my eye quickly disappear. Thankfully I have come to recognize these episodes and have my own ways of handling them after dealing with them for more than half my life. I have recently discovered what sets off the bipolar part. With some life changes, and creating a plan, I am hoping to come off of medication again without a major relapse.
Though I struggle and sometimes wish to be normal, I am grateful for this difference in brain activity.
- This illness forces me to really know myself. The more I learn about my mental illness, the more I make sense of past behaviors and current struggles.
- I am forced to be present in life, checking in with myself to avoid a major episode.
- I have much greater compassion and understanding of those handling mental issues.
- It causes me to have laser focus in life. I can only say yes to what really drives me and have to say no to anything I feel obligated to.
- My marriage has to be very honest. The man needs to know when I am struggling so he can be my support and accountability.
- I get to raise kids who know that not only can illness be manifested so all can see, but our brains don’t always function how we want them to. They are learning when someone is just behaving badly and can surmise when someone has some sort of mental condition.
Somedays I curse the brain God gave, somedays I am overjoyed, everyday I I know it is for a reason.
Before this last week, how did you view mental illness?