I’ve debated publicly writing about my own experiences with “the crazy” for years. I knew it was something I wanted and needed to do, but I was so afraid of the judgement and misunderstanding that typically follows mental health issues. Now that some of my old issues, my demons, have started to creep back into my life it has become clear that now is the time to share my story. I’m putting a voice (and face for some) to something that needs to be talked about.
I’m tired of pretending I haven’t struggled with “the crazy” because I have, and all the triumphs and setbacks have made me who I am. This is something I have dealt with in my past, present, and will continue to deal with in my future. I’m tired of covering it up because of the judgement people dealing mental health issues face.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder my mom showed me a list (which I’ve since found on multiple websites ) of celebrities with bipolar disorder. She said, “Look at all these successful people with the same thing you’re dealing with. This isn’t a death sentence, it just means that some things are going to be harder for you. But if they can do it, you can do it.” Knowing that other people have the same struggles, challenges, and setbacks as you is incredibly comforting, at least to me.
There is such a stigma around mental health that it forces people to hide their illness. It also isn’t always covered by health insurance which is ridiculous. It is a medical condition, yet providers can deny therapy and hospitalization. When I was hospitalized I could only stay for 10 days because that’s what my insurance would cover. 10 days?! People who are suffering to the extent of having to be hospitalized certainly need more than 10 days before they’re ready to rejoin society as a functioning human. That’s barely enough time to get on the right meds, let alone deal with the actual issues. Most mental health issues are treated with a combination of medication and therapy so people can learn to understand and deal with their symptoms. Sadly so many people are overmedicated as a way to “silence” their symptoms. Medication is used to regulate and stabilize, it’s not supposed to be the answer. You can’t just drug people and expect them to function. I’ve been over-medicated and you lose the ability to function. Isn’t the goal of medication to give people tools to help them be stable, functioning members of society? That was certainly my impression.
I don’t want to hide from my past and I don’t want my past to creep into my present, which is why I’m taking action. I’m seeing a psychologist, I’m open to seeing a psychiatrist, and I’m writing about my experiences. I know that not everyone will understand.
Part of dealing with “the crazy” is realizing that not everyone will understand you, but hopefully you can find peace with yourself. I do this for myself as much as I do it for others. I’m sick and tired of covering it up because it makes people feel uncomfortable or scared. I’m not willing to deal with it in silence anymore. I want to raise awareness as much as I want to offer a sense of understanding and “I feel that way too” for others who struggle with “the crazy”. I’m not afraid anymore, and I hope others won’t be either.