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.
When I consider my life, it is usually divided into two parts: Before and After. Before – before a proper diagnosis. After – after a proper diagnosis. This distinction isn’t some fleeting thought I have when I open a scrap book. It’s the way I tell my story, to myself and to others.
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.
Take a minute to jot down your gratitude’s. The practice can turn the negatives to positives and I believe make the pain – both physical and mental – a little more manageable. Since the time it’s taken me to type out this list, the pain has subsided. Maybe I’m just distracted. Maybe the pain isn’t as bad as I thought. I really don’t care. I feel grounded and centered in this moment.
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.
The first time I sought out a professional respite, a brief moment flashed by where I let out a genuine sigh of relief. After months of insomnia, I was fighting off sleep during work hours, often dosing off where I stood. There was no longer a struggle for a balance between keeping myself together, and falling into rapid cycles of mania and depression. At that point, I was holding on by a thread for my life. The morning that thread snapped, I walked into work at 4a. I realized I could no longer keep my composure and fight the rising madness I tightly kept contained inside. At 6a, I walked out of my job, called a friend, and asked for a ride to the ER. I was finally ok with giving in and seeking what I thought was going to be a period of rest and relief from my difficult and unmanageable life.