I’m learning this, how to function within a new parameter, with new variables and familiar memories commingled. I will get through this because I want to. Because I need to if I’m going to stay healthy. I have something to prove to myself: that I can do this thing called Life.
I want to believe that by being transparent I am inviting people into my world, and that I’m breaking down stereotypes and allowing others to experience the real me, the person beyond the mental illness. Whether I can relate to the world around me or not is up to the day and my symptoms. When those symptoms are being managed, I can sense a way into the sea of people I watch in wonder.
I long to share myself with someone. I’ve grown tired of living a single’s life because of my mental illness. I want the intimacy and joy that come from communicating one-on-one with the right person. And that means I will have to talk about mental health, mine in particular. I have to be brave and not glance in the rearview mirror. There’s nothing back there worth looking at. I can only go forward. I have to believe that I’m worthy of love and that my mental illness won’t stand in the way.
For some, choosing to not ask for help might be a matter of pride. It can be embarrassing to admit that you’re on the down side of things. Still, if you’ve been open and honest with your friends and family, the willingness to ask for assistance might come a little easier. Trust that they understand that you’re in need. Be accountable for communicating those needs. That’s a better use of your pride than being embarrassed.
When I’m in my hospital togs I feel connected to those days when I stayed in the wing with ten other patients, each battling their own demons, each stronger because of it. For many of us, the common denominator was suicide. So much sorrow in one room could prove cathartic once the sharing began. The stories would start and the faces would change from withdrawn and sullen to hopeful and brave.