Mental Illness seems to be on everyone lips at the moment, like it's a new word, or something that is "on trend."
The harsh reality is that it has been around for centuries but because we are afraid of things we don't understand, we choose to hide away from it and pretend it's not there. This also goes for people that actually suffer with their mental health. They hide away from themselves.
I myself have Bipolar Type 2 Rapid Cycling. I have been diagnosed twice, ten years apart in two different counties. Both times, medication was discussed but because I also have a kidney disease, it wasn't really an option for me. So I was left feeling like the odd one out, trying to fit into a normal job, normal life, and conform to the norm. Ha, that didn't last long. You see when you have bipolar, you suffer with extreme shifts in your emotions in a sometimes very short space of time. When you are around a big group of people, say working in an office for instance, people start to notice your erratic behaviour and sometimes manic moods.
I used to feel ashamed of my illness, never really telling anyone about how I felt or what I had. I suffered in silence until one day I thought, "sod it."
I remember telling my manager that I had bipolar. He looked at me like I was an alien, like I should have my face hanging off or something. I tried until I was blue in the face to try and explain what I went through on a daily basis, but people would just act like I was being a brat or I had "issues." Damn straight I had issues. I wasn't being understood by my so-called work colleagues and managers.
This pattern was a reoccurring one throughout my adult working life. I found it difficult to keep down jobs because of the intense shifts I experienced. It got worse after I had my son. My emotions were on constant surround sound. If I felt happy I was elated, manic, and erratic. If I was low, I was depressed, anxious, and suicidal.
This is still a true reflection of my life now, but there is something that I decided a long time ago to do that would change my own understanding of my illness. I decided if I was going to suffer daily, I would write and share my story. I would write all the tools and techniques I use daily to live through my days and I would share then with like-minded individuals. I found that wanting to help heal others started to heal my own wounds.
I started my website to offer free advice and content to women who suffer with their mental health (www.psyourebeautiful.co.uk). I started a Facebook group full of passionate, ambitious women who want to start their own journey of sharing their stories. I am about to launch an online magazine to help women to start their ventures and have the love and support of coaches from all different holistic backgrounds. And I have nearly finished my book about my struggle. I have obviously included all the juicy stuff that helps me live with my Bipolar and be less controlled by its grip.
My mission has been and will continue to be to spread awareness of mental illness. My goal is to show women out there that they are not broken or tarnished because they suffer with depression or anxiety. They are going to change the world with their stories. With me by their side, they are going to learn to channel all the negative shiz they battle with into something positive and meaningful.
Bipolar, PTSD, Personal Disorder, GAD, Depression, etc are not labels for the weak. They are there to show us we are different in a GOOD way. We see the world differently from others. We feel emotions differently from others. We should be looking at this differently.
Most people that suffer with a mental illness are wonderfully creative, intuitive, and passionate people that have a story to share. For me, stories save lives.
I will keep writing because it keeps me alive and it inspires others to keep going. I will continue to coach and support others that suffer with the same internal battle that I do. And most importantly, I won't stop spreading awareness of mental illness and the need for things to change.
Someone once said to me:
"Maybe you're the normal one and I am the one that needs help."
I have found away to channel my own illness into healing others. I want to help others channel their stories into changing others' lives, too.
Love and light.