The below was written by a survivor who would like to remain anonymous. The anonymous person may be working behind the counter, she may be a colleague, she may be a friend. Be encouraged in this y’all. Be encouraged to be kind, to love well, to be a safe place and to know that it does get better wherever you’re at.
It is offensive and terribly sad to me when people talk negatively about mental illness. I am happy to say that for the past few years, the medicine regime I am on has kept me stable. Though speaking from experience it took at least twenty different medication combinations to get there. Right now, I take six different medicines. They can make me sleepy, have headaches, and other side effects I won’t mention, but they are necessary. There isn’t one easy fix to all mental health problems or a secret combination of medication and therapy that works for everybody but in regards to my own battles, I wish mental health was more of an accepted conversation.
I find it sad that most of my friends and family have no idea that I have dealt with mental illness for over twenty years; most of the time, no one has had any idea that I thought about dying for weeks, which turned in to months. As far back as high school, before I even had a diagnosis, I would think about my funeral and how I believed no one would show up because I was worthless, ugly, and pathetic. In my early twenties, I was finally diagnosed with anxiety and depression. By my late twenties, due to several major depressive episodes, I was diagnosed with bipolar type II. In my early thirties, I attempted suicide. I ended up in the hospital for several days, and I hated every moment of it. I didn’t want to be there. I felt the staff did not want to work with me. I felt shame and it was horrible. When I was discharged my entire life was rocked upside down. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know where I fit in or even if people wanted me to fit in. I had already fought a hard battle walking out those hospital doors and had another one waiting. I couldn’t tell my friends, coworkers or members of my family because I feared and still fear judgment. The great news is, I am alive! I did not succumb to that darkness. I am happy to say for the past few years, the medicine regime I am on has kept me stable and my life functions. I have good days and bad days, but I know that life is worth living. I have a good job, a house, a family and “friends”. Though most of my friends have no idea about my life’s ups and downs. If there is one thing I could encourage it is that people would be able to have friends and family members to talk with without worrying about being judged.
Leading up to this post, we interviewed several people of all walks asking the below. It’s only fitting we did the same for the author above. You can see others answers @addresspendingco. We’d love to hear yours also- comment below!
What's the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?
Pray, drink coffee; look up positive quote; exercise when I have enough time
Which of your traits are you the most proud of?
Persistence, creativity, stamina
What does success mean to you?
Success means you feel like and are accepted as a productive member of society. It is a feeling of contentment not a feeling of being a burden.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
Well, sometimes I cry a lot. I try to think of the good things in life. I exercise. I work more. I take a nap.
What does the world need more of? Less of?
More love, patience, self-control, joy, peace, true knowledge
Less hate, intolerance, ignorance, judgement
What sparks joy in you?
My child, exercise, finishing tasks, accomplishments
What do you love about life?
Running in nature
Sometimes this is a tough question.