When I was finally labelled back in November 2009 I felt my world crash to the ground. That was it for me, the dreams and the aspirations for the future were all snatched away for me. That label placed upon me stripped away everything I had worked so hard to achieve. I was a label and nothing else.
I liked the label, it gave me reason to hang up my qualifications and my dreams, it gave me the excuse to sit and allow my own self-pity to consume me. It did so for the following two years.
I lost friends, some family turned their backs on me, I brought shame to the family because I was mentally ill. I lost my business, I lost my mind. All control was taken from me and I became weak and afraid of my own shadow.
I lost all enthusiasm, what was the point; someone like me was no longer ever going to succeed at anything I did. The mindset that my life was over had been set in stone.
For the last 3 years I have blamed myself, I have inflicted pain upon myself because I believed I deserved it. I have starved my body to the brink of starvation and collapse, my kidneys are failing and I have burned my body on regular intervals. For what? Am I really a bad person? Do I deserve to be punished? NO! I have done nothing wrong and so I am fighting this need to punish myself, I feel I can finally stop the guilt. It will take time, but I will beat this.
I believed the haters who told me I was worthless and a failure to my children. I agreed with the voices inside my head that I would do everyone a favour if I left them. Looking down at the bottle of an empty pill bottle, as the tablets lay in line on the kitchen table, yet something stopped me. I was stronger than I thought.
The stigma given to “someone like me” is soul destroying. I learnt to accept that I came at the bottom of the list. I would always avoid eye contact with others, never feeling good enough. Walking with my head firmly directed towards the ground, not good enough to even breathe in the same air as others.
Something in the last 6 months has changed and you have helped me
What did the label of mental health really do to me? I have suffered with mental illness for the majority of my life; I was first introduced to the mental health team when I was thirteen, that was nineteen years ago now.
Being diagnosed was a major setback or was it?
Did having a label attached to me change me in anyway? I was ill despite any given label, all that that label of bipolar gave me, was a name for the mental illness I had.
November 2009 – Finally diagnosed with a form of bipolar after years of suffering with mental health problems
May 2010 – I started a support network for mothers on Facebook
March 2011 – I began a blog
October 2012 – I win a mums in business award
Those years 2009 to the current day have been a challenge and I look back at it with a sense of loss, relief, guilt yet proudness.
I survived it
I am surviving, I am coping and I am managing; while I may struggle I am still standing tall and fighting
Some days will be harder than others but I have learned so much about myself over the last 3 years
My life was not over when I was finally placed under the mental health team, it was only changing in direction. While I may not be able to do all the things I wanted to do, I am starting to feel like I am living rather than surviving.
For all my haters out there, the family members who are ashamed of me and the friends I have lost along the way, look at me now.
I am achieving, I have made true friends and I have my new online family standing right behind me. The love and support I have received from my online work has been outstanding. Its finally clicked, I am needed, I am important and I do deserve to be treated with respect.
The emails and thank you letters I receive are real, people do like me. They do not lie when they say I inspire them, I help them, I support them. For that I thank you, you have at last made me see I do have a place in this society.
I am good enough to look you in the eye; I can hold my head high. I am not worthless and I can look at making plans for the future.
I understand and I accept that I have to take tiny steps, but I am beginning to walk again and I will run one day, I know I will. The anxiety is a battle, I will no doubt always suffer with psychosis, but I understand it now, I am no longer afraid.
The label is not stopping me from doing anything; it prevents me, but does not stop me. I have demanded the correct support, finally I found my voice and told the mental health team they have failed me and I laid down a list of tasks we need to work through. I made them listen. I will no longer allow my label to control me; I am going to learn to control it the best I can.
I will not always win my battle, bipolar is not going to go away, it can never be cured; my illness is strong but so am I. There will be times it turns my life upside down again, but that’s OK, I will come back from it and start building back up the devastation left behind yet again because that’s what I have always done, I just didn’t see it.
I have a determination to help others like me, who think their lives are controlled by mental illness. I want to show them that it can be managed and you can live a very ordinary life. This means that I have to keep up with my mental health appointments, I have to take medication and I need to sleep and eat correctly.
The last few years have been a huge learning curve for me. I finally get it.
I am not a mentally ill person. I am a loving mother, wife and friend. I am a strong women with a passion to help others and a dedication to break down stigmas, I just happen to have bipolar. I see clearly that the only person stopping me from achieving all I can is me, not my mental illness.