So despite my posting daily, not all my posts are appearing on my blog. I have them saved, but I am in the process of uploading them so it may be an arse about face reading list. But I am an arse about face type of girl, so hey ho.
It is national time to talk day. A campaign by time to change to end mental health discrimination and technically the end of my blog challenge. I may just have to keep on though, until I get my cheesecake sponsorship deal, and the world appreciates the genius in my ramblings (I know, I might have a long wait).
If I could change one thing about mental health, it would be how it is seen and talked about. Mental illness has a fight on so many fronts. The ignorance of how bad it can be, the stereotypes that it faces, and the shame people feel it admitting they struggle.
When I started this blog, it was me admitting to the world I have Bipolar. Not that I think for a second that the world spins on what I have to say, but it was a personal thing. I have always said I am not ashamed of my condition, but am not that open about it. Well I am hereby calling myself on my own bullshit. If I am not ashamed, why I am I not open about it? Why can’t I talk about it openly? Why do I play down how hard it is to live with sometimes? How much of my life, and of me in general it has taken and destroyed? How many Birthdays, Christmases, and events it has ruined? How many of my friends it has taken from me? It made me doubt myself, and removed all of my self esteem, with no warning.
It has seeped into every area of my life and tainted every area of my life and personality that is the very essence of me. The illness and medication affected my ability to socialise, study, maintain employment, mother my children, interact with my family, and made me want to die. Because its not just the illness, its the parts of you it takes, so you don’t recognise what is left.
I am not alone. One in four experience mental illness, and more deal with the effects it has on loved ones. Well here I am, leading by example. I have been that person, as you can see from my posts, who has had the shit kicked out of her by Bipolar. But you know something, unlike so many of the people I cared about, I’m still here. So fuck you Bipolar, you keep trying, but I am better than you. You win a few rounds, but I am still standing. I will keep standing, you have taken too much from me, you have taken my friends, but as with most things in my life, I’ll have the last say, I wont back down, and I’ll put you back in your place. Go to hell, and take your misery with you.
I have Bipolar, I am not Bipolar. I am still me. But there are times where I need a break because its gets to much. I walk through life with the monstrous weight of my illness on my back. But for my children, no matter how heavy it gets, how tired I get, how despondent, or miserable, I’ll keep walking. I am not perfect, and not quite the mother they deserve, but I love my children with my every breath, and Bipolar may throw some punches, a few might even land, but Bipolar hits like a bitch and I’m the biggest bitch I know, I wont let it take me down.
Bravery comes in many different forms. It may be all you can do to walk into that busy supermarket, the crowds are overwhelming sometimes. It may take everything you have to walk into that Doctors room and admit you are not coping. Do it anyway. You are not on your own. Because no matter who you are, where you are, what you are going through, I am going through hell too. So you have one friend in this world. Me.
What people don’t realise about mental illness, is it has more power to bond us all together than it does to separate us. Once you have faced the kind of darkness it brings, no matter how little you know about a stranger, you would go beyond to help them. Because once you have experienced it, you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. I will quite happily talk to anyone, about anything if it helps. Even people I wouldn’t normally spend time with, because that darkness is what we have in common. Because mental illness is essentially, your own brain turning against you. But while that makes you feel like the world is against you, it really isn’t. There are people who will help. Who will listen. You just need to take the leap. It is a leap of faith, reaching out to someone, admitting you are not doing ok, and trusting them to understand and be there. Sometimes it feels like a leap we are not ready to take. But do it, you really don’t have anything to lose. If they don’t respond how you need them to, they are not worth being in your life anyway. If you aren’t ready to just yet, that’s fine. Be kind to yourself. Deep breath, one day, or even hour at a time.
It will lift eventually, keep the faith. I have been lifted by my friends. I like my friends, hence why they are friends. But I have been truly amazed by what wonderful people they are. Especially my very own Braveheart. Mental illness is a part of us none of us like, but it is still part of us. We should never have to hide any part of ourselves from our loved ones. Let people in every now and again, they’ll surprise you. Ease the burden on yourself, because make no mistake it is a burden and a bloody big one at that.
So I had my very own ‘coming out’. I have Bipolar and I’m proud. Proud because I deal with an illness that takes lives. Ends lives. Fighting Bipolar and fighting life makes me no less than a warrior. I may not be physically strong, but I have a kind of resilience that is worthy of being proud of. I am still a person, with a massive arse, tree trunk legs, bemused expression or resting bitch face, I am still intelligent, still likeable, still a good friend (when I’m not ill), still loveable (even married, get me), still a mother. I still have a life worth living. I am in a better position than most, because I’m still breathing.
Above all else, it has taught me things. I care about people in a way I didn’t before. Because again being taken to the depths it takes you to, makes you care about other people. So whilst yes I am a bitch, I will also make time for whoever needs to talk to me. A woman who has gone for weeks without showering is in no position to judge anyone so you have no fear on that front. But hopefully I am proof that it gets better, that the world will not cave in because you have admitted all is not well. Plus people are more caring than you give them credit for.
So please keep talking. Mental illness is like a fungus, it relies on darkness and isolation to thrive. No one likes fungus.
Laura 🙂 xx