Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Sick Enough

It has been a long time since I have posted on my blog. I need to change that.

Sometime sharing is difficult. And sometimes, I may share for the wrong reasons.

What do I mean by that?

The wrong reason is when I want desperately – too desperately – to be believed. But, I realize it’s NOT my job to convince anyone that I am sick. It’s not my job to justify or prove that my bipolar, especially at this very moment in time, is unbearable. It’s not my job to prove that the only reason I can get up in the morning is thanks to a cocktail of medication that allows me these seemingly false, but necessary nonetheless moments of strength.

When able, I MUST participate in life. Participating in life is part of my treatment. I celebrate that. I need that. I get tired sometimes of having to – or feeling like I must – look or sound a certain way to earn the “green light” of being believed or being sick enough. I am tired of thinking I must give off visual cues so that people feel comfortable with believing I am sick enough.

By who’s standards, I wonder?

The moments I can laugh with my family or joke with my friends I hold on to because the next moment may find me plunging into darkness. Such is the unpredictability of a bipolar depressive episode. If you see me smiling or hear me chattering away, recognize that I am simply managing my symptoms in a less grueling way in that moment. Be happy for me if you can.

I am sick now. Right now, I am not able to “power through” or “fight off” this episode. A healthy diet and a good dose of exercise will not make me well. They may help, but they won’t fix it. Lighting scented candles and meditating are also helpful, but not the answer. Sadly, the chemicals inside my brain that govern my illness are in charge and I can manage in whatever way I need to.

No one chooses mental illness. It is not the “new black” or “on trend”. But neither is it something to apologize for. There is no shame in this illness. My bipolar disorder won’t look like anyone else’s. It presents differently in everyone. For me, sadness is only a tiny sliver. It is so much more and sometimes it stops me in my tracks. Times like right now.

It is in these times that I must draw on my own words when I am advocating for mental illness. It is not just for me. It is also for anyone else who feels that they don’t have a voice.

There is no shame. Stigma has no power here.