Right off the bat, let me answer with a defiant ‘NO’ (but read on please!). I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am an aunt. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a Dallas Cowboys fan! I am many other labels, with some that aren’t very complimentary in my opinion! However, there is one particular label that I refuse to accept. In fact, it tends to make my blood start to boil. I am NOT mentally ill (keep reading!).
Yes, I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 and generalized anxiety disorders in 2007. Yes, I work hard everyday to manage life to some degree of my own defined success. And yes, there is rarely a time when I am not aware of how my actions, thoughts, and words affect me and others because of my bipolar and anxiety disorders.
I still refuse the label. But, it isn’t because I deny the illness. Instead, I try to embrace it. So, my point? Consider this:
I am a home. I have a home.
See the difference? I have mental illness. Mental illness doesn’t define me. I am more than my mental illness. It plays but a portion of what I am as a whole, just like a home is only part of what makes you up as a whole. I don’t think this way because I minimize mental illness nor its role in making my life a challenge. I think this way because I refuse to be just my illness. I instead, demand that I accept it as only one part of me.
Dealing with mental illness is difficult. I struggle with it on a daily basis. Many times, the victories seem small and the failures huge. Still, I count my blessings. I try and think carefully before anything. I am compassionate. I am patient. I always endeavor to be mild and kind. I appreciate simple joys. I am thankful for every breath I take. Those are all positive blessings. I feel blogging for you is another one, and I hope it adds something positive to your life, also. I plan to share my story and thoughts, help educate us, try to erase negative opinions, and more.
So, for today, I leave you with a few other labels I cherish. I am a survivor. I am a warrior. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am loved. So are you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Bipolar Winds and thank you for reading.