Let’s start my first real blog post with something that has affected my life for the last 10+ years: mental illness.
I was diagnosed with depression and ADHD at the age of thirteen and from then it’s been a constant battle between the outside world and the world within my head. Most of my writings began during this time in my life. From the ages of thirteen to twenty three I’ve been given a few different diagnoses,
major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, non-specified personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, but it wasn’t until recently – as in, within the last month – that I’ve started to accept all of this and work with it, instead of against my illness.
As I sat across from my thirtieth different therapist something clicked. He looked at me, unfazed about everything I just laid on him and said
you’re diagnosis does not matter in this room, in this room all that matters is you, and me, and what we’re going to do to get you to where you want to be… this right here could be what saves your life.
It was the first time that I felt like a person talking to another person, and not an illness being told how to live my life by a therapist. I no longer felt like I had to cover up all the scars – physical and metaphorical – from my past.
During one of our first sessions, I explained how much I hated therapy – I’m not used to doing stuff for me. For my entire adult life I’ve been the “go to” person for most of my friends; it was a lot easier to help them, heal them, than it ever was to try to save myself. How do you save someone who’s so used to suffering, that they don’t even think they need to be saved? That’s where I was. I was so used to having my “good” be most peoples “horrible” and my “fine” never really being fine that I didn’t even know something was wrong.
What do you mean it’s not normal to think about getting hit by a car and dying every time you’re about to cross the street.
I know this isn’t going to be easy, but difficult isn’t something I’m new to. It’s difficult getting out of bed. It’s difficult going out and having fun with my friends. It’s difficult to do some of the most basic things.
It’s been a long struggle this far, and it’s going to be an even longer journey but I’m doing it. I have hit what I believe to be the most crucial steps in getting on the track to getting better.
- Admit that I’m not okay
- Realize I want to be okay
- Be ready to be okay
It may sound weird, but for a long time I lived somewhere between the first two steps. I’d admit I wasn’t okay, or I’d want to be okay, but I never got to the next step. I was never ready to deal with everything. And I mean everything. I’m finally ready to dive into the deepest, darkest, coldest parts of mine and uncover things that have been buried beneath for way too long.
I’ve spent enough time believing that I wasn’t enough. I’ve given enough parts of myself away that I think I can start being selfish with who I am, and what I have to offer to those in my life. I’ve been in broken, abusive, manipulative relationships, I’ve dated people because I was afraid to say no – even when I knew they weren’t good for me. I’ve found myself staring at the bottom of a bottle a few too many times to keep pretending it’s something everyone does. I’ve let people use me and toss me aside. I’ve given my all to people who gave me a second look.
I’m finally ready to give myself my all, starting with my love.