When I got my bipolar diagnosis at 21 years old I thought, “that’s it.”
The only people I knew back then who had bipolar struggled through life. Most of them couldn’t keep a job. They had to be on disability benefits. They couldn’t live independently. They struggled with relationships. I had three friends who had killed themselves.
I struggled with it. And I was scared.
There were so many things I’d dreamed of, and figured I’d never be able to accomplish. My life experiences were now limited.
These are thoughts that have led to my past thoughts of suicide, as horrible as that is. It’s a sense of hopelessness.
But when I sit down and THINK about my life, I see how wrong those thoughts are.
Having a mental health disorder diagnosis is not the end of the world.
I’ve spoken so much here about struggles. About the importance of treatment. Of having a strong support network. Of not giving up.
This is why.
My disease creates lies inside my brain that tells me that I’m worthless. That I’ve achieved or accomplished nothing of importance in my life.
But here are things that I’ve accomplished and have successfully crossed off my bucket list:
- Graduated from college.
- Rebooted my life and moved to the opposite side of the country.
- Traveled to places I’d only ever dreamed about.
- Living independently in an apartment that is my own.
- Have gotten a handle on understanding my mental health.
- Took ownership of my physical body.
- Created and maintained positive, healthy relationships with people in my life.
- Learned to love myself.
They are no different from the types of accomplishments my friends have talked about. Relationships, jobs/education, personal goals, public and personal services to others, and life.
Mental illness has not stopped me. I’m not worthless.
A mental health disorder is not the end.