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Friday, January 31, 2014

"You can't live your life waiting for someone to fix you."

It's true.  It's been an extremely difficult lesson, but really.. as difficult as recovery is sometimes, as difficult as it is on those days where I really, really am struggling.. I'm the only person who can pick myself up when I've fallen down.

I'm slowly learning that there is a HUGE difference between being independent and being alone.  Dealing with a shitty day on my own, without relying on others to attempt to pull me out of it.. like actually fighting my own way through those days where I feel like I can't hang on another minute, is not the same as being alone.

Being along is just that... being alone.

Being independent... ultimately I'm learning to take responsibility for my own mental health.  If I have an off day, I have an off day.  But that isn't an excuse to grab the closest blade and press it into my own skin.  On those days, there are a million things I can do.  A million things that won't cause more damage, a million things that can hopefully ease the pain I'm feeling emotionally... I can go to the gym, go for a run, write, curl up in my nest with hot chocolate and a good book, the list goes on.  And if all that fails... I can still ask for help.

Another thing I've learned - asking for help does not equal giving up that responsibility for my own health.  And the thought of that, now that I'm actively working on my recovery, actually seems like kind of a ridiculous concept.. asking someone to be there with me as I go through a difficult or painful situation, doesn't make that person responsible for my well being.  That's still in my hands.. as it always needs to be.

To be honest, I think that's maybe part of what made my most recent hospitalization so unbearable.. so painful.  The fact that it felt like my independence.. my ability to make my own decisions in regards to my own life.. it felt like all that was being stripped away from me.  That and the fact that when you're alone in a room with nothing to do all day but read, write, and think... let's just say shit gets real.  I felt every single emotion, and it was fucking raw.  I've never felt so vulnerable with just myself.

And it felt like I wasn't being listened to... like because I was there, it was generally assumed that I wasn't fit to make my own decisions.  Which, quite frankly, was fucking ridiculous.  I made the decision to go there on my own because I knew that it was the best thing for me in that moment.. that if I continued to try and tough it out at home I could end up seriously harming myself.  I was definitely not my normal self, but the fact that I made the decision to get help without being dragged there kicking and screaming, really shows that I was capable of making the right choices for myself.  It wasn't recognized that way there... it was like all that was irrelevant and all that mattered was that I had this label stuck on me... bipolar.

Yeah, it's an illness.  But it doesn't mean I'm not human.  I absolutely hate the stigma that comes with mental illness.  It's like... if I were diabetic, I'd still be treated as a human.  I'd be treated the same as any other person.

But with mental illness, there's this thought that just because something's a little off with me emotionally, I'm not the same as anyone else.

Here's the thing.  I'm flawed.  Yes.  But so is every other person on this planet... we all have our own scars, battle wounds, wars to fight.  Personally I think that these flaws are what make us beautiful.  The fact that a person can face whatever it is they have to face and still be standing at the end of the day.  The fact that everyone has their own battles, but really, we're all the same.

Just because I've been diagnosed with mental illness.. it doesn't make me any different from anyone else.  Nor does the fact that I've spent the past decade fighting a self-harm addiction.  That's just the battle I'm fighting.  And guess what, I'm still standing.  I'm still alive.  I'm still human.

So I guess what I'm saying is, to those people who are so judgmental when it comes to mental illness (or even judgmental when it comes to people who are willing to speak openly about the battles they face - you probably know who you are)... I don't owe you anything.  And I certainly don't have to keep my mouth shut for your sake.  Stigma exists because people aren't willing to talk.

This entry definitely did not turn out even close to how I thought it would... End of rant.

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