We spend so much time wishing our mental illnesses away and for what? They aren’t going anywhere. We wish we didn’t have to take medications. Wish there weren’t side effects. Hate therapy. Get nervous about visiting out psychiatrist. All true for me as well.
But I don’t want to be “normal” (whatever that is). It isn’t that I choose to be mentally ill. I just am not wishing on every star in the sky hoping things are going to change. I have reached the magic land of acceptance and I promise, when you do, it is incredibly easier to navigate the ever-changing moods and anxiety and depression, etc.
I have learned SO MUCH from my illness. I have been depressed. I have been suicidal. I have tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion. I have been in the ICU twice. I lived. And here is what I learned from all that: Sometimes people feel so bad they feel hopeless, like his or her life is never going to get better or that the hole the dug himself or herself into is too deep to get out. I’ve learned an empathy for people I never felt as deeply before I became ill. I know now what can help and what is wasted breath.
I know more that I really care to about impulsivity. How quickly things can change. How I have to watch myself for signs of quick changes in my moods and actions.
I’ve been afforded opportunities I never would have had if I were not ill. For example, there would be no “Beautifully Bipolar” blog. There would be no memoir of living with these mental illnesses of mine. I would have never had the chance to be in the inaugural cast of ‘This Is My Brave,’ in which I stood up before hundreds of people in the D.C. area and told my story of mental illness. I’d like to believe that I affect lives and that when my book is published I will affect more. If I was “normal” I’d never had so much to share.
I have also been given the gift of friendships and acquaintances of others with mental illness. Sometimes you email me. Sometimes you simply comment on a post and it keeps me going. Or sometimes our paths cross and I put your number in my phone for when you need me or I need you. You are a blessing in my life.
So sure, life would be easier if I was “normal,” but it wouldn’t be better. For the reasons I’ve listed and those my brain can’t quite latch onto at this moment, I am a better person. I love myself with an unquestionable passion because of all I have been through. I understand both you and I better because of my mental illnesses.
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