I cannot believe I'm writing this, but I believe the stigma surrounding mental illness is there because we don't talk about it.
I know, personally, that stigma has had a huge impact on my life. I've suffered (mostly) in silence out of fear.. feat that no one will care, fear of what people will think, fear of losing people. Fear of not being taken seriously if people find out what is really going on with me.
But here's the thing. I've pushed people away, I've lied, I've done almost everything that I can to avoid the real problems in my life. I've spent years trying to just "fix" everything with band-aid solutions.
Basically, I've been a wreck for a very long time, and by not being honest with those around me, I have managed to isolate myself from everyone who could have helped me much sooner.
Ten days ago, I felt more alone than I ever have before in my life. I was hurting more than words can say, and felt like I was stuck so far down in my own personal hell that nothing could ever save me.
But, thank God, something in that moment made me pick up the phone and choose life over death.
I got to the hospital. To the person who got me there, thank you.
So that's where I've been...getting help. Working to get my mental health back on track. I know I have a very long way to go, and that for a long time, this will continue to be a daily battle that I will have to face. Bipolar II isn't something that goes away.
While I can't deny the difficulty of all this, I am very grateful for the fact that I am still alive. I was literally seconds away from choosing the alternative less than two weeks ago. The thought that if I hadn't picked up the phone, I would not be here typing this right now, is an absolutely terrifying thought.
I never want to feel that way again.
Recovery is hard, and there are going to be a lot of bumps along the way (as I've already experienced), but it is possible, and it is worth it. Even though I'm nowhere near where I want to be yet, I keep reminding myself that it will be worth it... that it IS worth it.
Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. As I've learned, by isolating yourself in hopes of making everybody else more comfortable, you are only making things more difficult for yourself. Usually, asking for help is the best possible thing you can do for yourself. I know it's the most worthwhile decision I have made in my life so far.
And to anyone else out there who is struggling.. please know that you're not alone. You're never alone.