By: Rick E. In 1998 at fifty-two days old, Gabby suffered from Hemangioendothelioma that nearly took her life if it was not for Primary Children’s Oncology team in Salt Lake City, Utah. The miraculous fluoroscope procedure and Alpha Interferon treatments allowed her to heal as we lived at Primary Children’s…
Within that framework, there is a danger that suicide becomes presented as a ‘selfish’ action, addiction as ‘indulgent’ and depression as ‘dramatic.’ We need more people who suffer with mental illness and addiction to tell their stories, if they are willing and able. We need the real narratives of mental illness and addiction to both challenge stigma and to impact the policy and public health approaches that are implemented.
Years after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and gaining the tools and support to manage that disease, on some unconscious level, I stilled fundamentally believed that losing weight would “fix” me. The fly in that ointment was that whenever food was restricted, the underlying issues were still bubbling, just below the surface.
When I choose to agree with the shame I feel, I am the one giving power to stigma. I am the only one who has the power to break this internal stigma because I get to choose what I believe about myself. So for me breaking stigma requires intentionally breaking out of the mindset my childhood gave me. It requires me to talk back to my mental tapes that tell me I am not enough.
I am finally learning to live life on life’s terms, and to appreciate the fact that I am still alive. Recovery is not always easy but it is beautiful. The poem below reads more like spoken word poetry, I am not into the frilly stuff. Every word is true and every word is real. I hope I can connect to a few readers. We are not alone in this journey.
You and me. Us. It isn’t easy. We both bring our own set of challenges to the relationship, but somehow they are what has made are love stronger. It is in the difficult times that love is seen most clearly and I know without a shadow of a doubt that you love me exactly as I am.
One day, things will be easier. One day, life won’t seem so painful and distressing. Nonetheless, until then, I will take each day as it comes and the challenges brought with them. I will fight my hardest and accept the help I am privileged to have. And, most importantly, I will accept that even though things aren’t okay at this moment – this moment won’t last forever.
‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’