This morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed wondering which of the numerous pictures in memory of 9/11 I should adopt for my profile, I felt conflicted. My profile and cover pictures were about Suicide Prevention Week. It felt wrong, disrespectful of this national tragedy to NOT change to a 9/11 theme. But it also felt wrong to push aside something that was so woven into my everyday life, personally and professionally.
My collections of music and movies and games do not inform my emotions. Rather, they are my emotions. By this definition, I can find joy and sorrow, adventure and strife. I can love. This may be the result of a lifetime of maverick psychosis, as I am only aware of this function in recent years.
Mental illness is, in my belief, chronic. That means we’re not out of the woods forever. The disease is in remission, and hopefully will stay that way for a long, long time. Our psychiatrist has a goal of getting his patients to a point where they can, even briefly, feel well, so that they have something to fight for, an ‘eye on the prize’, hope.
I take my advocacy seriously. When I was invited to blog for Bring Change 2 Mind, I decided to share my story in such a way that others living with mental health issues might glean a kernel of hope. Maybe I could inspire them to find acceptance in a world filled with prejudice and shame. I would need to be courageous when I was afraid, and outspoken when I was shy.
I hoped that I could provide a fresh perspective on the subject of mental illness by being open and honest about my ups and downs. I wanted to offer the lawmakers, families, caregivers, and friends reading this blog an opportunity to see a bigger picture, one where the individual is not their diagnosis. I would need to offer data in lieu of opinion, and experience instead of conjecture.