I stand here today and wonder how and when I got here. Looking back over the last 3 years of my life at least, I have actually surprised myself and am slowly but surely starting to accept that yes I am strong, stronger than I ever believed possible.
19 years ago I was introduced to the mental health team for the first time when I attempted to tale my own life. I swallowed enough pills to kill me; it’s a miracle I am here today.
15 years ago I was 17 and met the man who would show me what an abusive relationship was. For eleven years I lost who I really was, that young girl never resurfaced, damaged for good. Suffering at the hands of the man I loved, had three children with and desperately wanted him to love me. After 2 nervous breakdowns, years of depression I found the courage to leave.
9 years ago the one women who had been the only stable adult in my childhood, the women who raised me and taught me that I was worth loving, my nanna passed away. It’s an area of my life that I still have yet to speak about. That night I remember smashing a glass and using the broken shards to cut pieces out of my arms.
5 years ago I met Matt, the man who picked me up and showed me that despite my baggage, I am worthy of love and respect. He taught me that not all men hit.
4 years ago I gave birth to my 4th child, a little girl. Postnatal depression stole any happy memories.
3 years ago I gave birth to my 5th child, a son, who was born to an unstable mother, yet still I fought on. Hiding the real me.
2 Years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar; I was 4 months pregnant with my 6th child.
There have been so many times when I have questioned why I continue, struggle and battle on. The answer is clear, I will never quit and I don’t give in. There is something worth living for, many things to fight for.
Mental illness took, stole and robbed me of so many things but it’s also taught me so much about myself. Without a life of mental illness, I would never have been able to help others, where would they be now had I not have offered them support?
It’s time for me to finally lay to rest the guilt and shame of being mentally ill and time to stand up and be proud for all I have achieved.
At time it’s easier to hide behind the illness, make excuses for myself and allow myself to be consumed with guilt and regret. What changes does that make to my life? None.
Only I can change my life and I intend to fight the demons that plague me, when those voices reappear as they do, trying to drag me back down, remind me how useless I am, I remind myself how far I have come.
I am not healed, I am still ill and I will never recover from bipolar, yet learning to accept it is really making positive changes in my life. I now look in the mirror and despite the pain and fear that reflects back in my eyes, I see some sparkle there.
I am learning, I am accepting and I am beginning to see that I am who I am today because of me.