Thursday, July 19, 2012

I am learning to work harder and smarter at mental health.  Four years after diagnosis, I think I am finally getting it figured out.  It can be arduous having to self monitor all the time.  Truthfully, when I have my setbacks it is because I get so tired of having to constantly scrutinize moods and what is normal (or habitual) for me. 

It is a lot of work to compare what my moods and actions are to those around me in a particular setting.  It hurts when everyone is in slow motion and I am turning like a pinwheel.  It’s devastating when I am sad and everyone else’s life goes on.  Comparing is necessary to keep me in check, but comparing is a reminder that I am not like them.

My husband and I made the choice a couple of years ago to be open and honest about my mental illness.  Keeping a secret on top of everything just seemed like too much.  Bipolar II and General Anxiety Disorder.  Sometimes getting that reality out of my mouth is easier than others.  It depends where I am at (mentally), where I am at (physically), and who I am speaking with.

People have been overwhelmingly nice and speak about their experiences with loved ones who struggle with mental illness.  They make me okay with things; it’s been an amazing experience.  I don’t know why this was so surprising to me.

Some people don’t understand.   I have lost friends and have been disappointed by relationships I thought were more genuine than they turned out to be.  Sometimes people look at struggle as a character flaw.  I don’t know if I want people in my life who don’t struggle.

The good ones know the certainty of my heart and the strength of my character. 

You learn who your friends are.  You learn who sticks it out.  They understand if you drop out of the world for months at a time and they forgive times when you are agitated and times when you just aren’t quite yourself.

It is a strange thing to have your mind turn against your body, to have your body rebel against its own nature.  And it is difficult to explain to people.  You feel foreign, like you don’t fit anywhere.  The world gets a bit lonely.

I have recently begun to notice the more honestly I chat with people, the more connected I feel to the kindness in the world.  Chance encounters now have more depth.

It’s brave to have heart.

To have had the possibility to understand myself better through others is a gift I am very thankful for.

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