Diagnosed with a serious mental illness over thirty years ago put a name to something I’d lived with since I was a young child.
Though I’m not partial to labels, it was the validation that I wasn’t weak or a quitter or a failure. Growing up, I struggled with unimaginable pain, fear and shame in a family that didn’t understand me and where I was traumatized and not protected or felt safe.
My twenties were like gathering broken shards of glass, holding them carefully so I wouldn’t bleed. I never gave up hope that I could recover though and held on tight to counselors and therapists who believed in me and saw my brilliance like sunlight breaking through storm clouds.
I am whole at 55. The pieces of glass are softened now like sea glass washed to shore after years of turmoil, worn by the rough sea.
I have washed to shore, strong yet soft at the same time.
I am a survivor.