Talking about mental illness is bravery. Talking about your bad days and not just your good ones takes strength. When you speak up, baring your soul, you provide understanding and education. #Bellletstalk has created a day for us who struggle with the stigma that plagues us, to feel apart of a community and to feel safe to tell our story. If you are not ready to speak up, this day will show you that you are not alone and that there are better days ahead.
So today, if you aren’t ready to talk… Listen. Listen to the stories of friends, family and even strangers. Hear their pain, just like yours. Hear their triumphs. Hear their healing. Hear their words of hope.
If you don’t know my story, let me share with you. I’ll give the short version, because it would take too long :p
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 2 7 years ago. What that means is, when I am not medicated I will have a mixture of fluctuating moods that can last from a few hours to a few months. The 2 main moods characterized with Bipolar 2 are Hypomanic and Depression. You may be wondering what that means or looks like, let me explain each one, keep in mind they differ from person to person.
Hypomania includes, but not limited to:
– having a higher, happier mood than usual
– higher irritability or rude behavior
– feeling overconfident
– higher activity or energy levels than usual without a clear cause
– a powerful feeling of physical and mental wellbeing
– being much more social and talkative than usual
– having a stronger desire for sex than usual
– feeling the need to sleep less than usual
– experiencing rage
Info from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324602.php#symptoms-of-hypomania
Depression includes but not limited to:
– feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
– loss of interest in activities
– inability to sleep or sleeping too much
– decreased energy
– feelings of worthlessness and guilt
– trouble concentrating or focusing
– weight gain or weight loss without dieting
– suicidal thoughts or tendencies
Other signs and symptoms of bipolar II disorder may occur during both periods of hypomania and depressive episodes. These may include the following:
– rapid cycling between states
Information from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319280.php#symptoms
I grew up very poor, my home was an unfinished trailer out in the country. 3 rooms had carpets and the rest was OSB. Mice and insects lived there just as we did. Winters were cold and food not always plentiful but I was lucky my mom was a great cook and somehow made do. My clothes were not what was trending but what we could afford. Christmas hampers were of the norm. We managed, and I am thankful to have had at least a roof over my head and food on the table. I lived a life of freedom, playing outside and exploring until the sun went down. One day it went down, and never came up again…
My spiral began at the age of 12, after my Dad had sexually abused me, for years I would suffer from nightmares and flashbacks. My Mom treated my brother (who she also used to beat in his younger years) and I more like a burden than a priority so that is why at the age of 15, my brother took me with him when he moved out. I began finding comfort in unhealthy relationships, drinking and drugs. I started using not only on weekends, but during the week and even while I was working. I began couch surfing for a few years and living out of my car, because I always wanted to be where the party was and I didn’t have anywhere that felt like home. During that time I started a relationship with someone who was extremely mentally and emotionally abusive, which made my self worth become non-existent. It was fueled by who could hurt who worst, lies and betrayal. Looking back to those years, I was lost, hated myself, felt like a burden and very, very angry at the world. I was in denial and full of resentment for the heartbreak and pain my family and people I trusted had caused me. Eventually, it started to become harder and harder to run from what was brewing within.
When I met my boyfriend 8 years ago, that is when the long healing process began. I was very angry, I would lash out, very self-conscious, suicidal, and underneath it all… just very very broken. For some reason, I will never know, he stuck with me. He took the mental abuse I inflicted and loved me anyway. He let me yell, he let me scream, let me accuse him of things he would never do to me, he let me cry, he let me be angry, he let me act like I hated him. All my years of bottled up pain came flowing out onto someone who showed me nothing but love. Then slowly but surely, my icy black heart began to thaw and come alive again.
My healing journey began when I felt what it was supposed to feel like to be loved. He showed me he wasn’t going anywhere and showed me he was crazy about me. My stepdaughter showed me how to laugh again, to let go and be free like a child. They both continuously showered me with love, when I felt like I didn’t deserve to be loved… and they continue to do it to this day. I began to realize, if they could love me… maybe, just maybe, I was worth loving. So I started to learn to love myself.
In the next 8 years, I would repeatedly take 1 step forward and 10 steps back… but I kept pushing because I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I didn’t want my past to define me. My boyfriend encouraged me to seek help from a psychiatrist. Months went by trying to figure out the perfect dose, then it was time to do my part. I very slowly started to learn my triggers, how to stop taking things personally, I stopped giving a fuck about others and their opinions, I started to accept my diagnosis, saw my psychiatrist when I needed and therapists too, I cried a lot, got angry a lot. and I still fucked up and hurt people A LOT.
My journey has been messy and long but so fucking worth it. I started my blog to not just help end the stigma about mental health, but to show people that you can still bounce back from your darkest days. You can come from hell and still live to talk about it. For me, I had to be shown I was able to be loved for me to understand that I could love myself, to start to be able to heal and see that I was worth it. I have found in my years of healing that talking about it has relieved much of my pain. My blog, my therapists, my psych, my family and friends, I bare my soul. Talking has helped me release my feelings, and help people understand me better and understand my disorder better. Take the first step, talk to someone… family, friend, professional, ME! Start to let the negativity out so you can make room to start healing. Stop giving a fuck about what others think. You did not ask to be like this. You are not your illness or disorder. You are a human being that has been broken by outside circumstances. The real you has so much life left to give and you are so fucking worthy of it. You are not alone in this.
So today we speak not only to help break the stigma that has such a firm grip on mental illnesses and disorders, but we speak to spread love and strength. Most importantly, we speak out to bring hope to those who have fallen hopeless.
If you are reading this, I love you. Talk to me.