From the time we are born, and all throughout life we grow. In different ways, of coarse, but inevitably, we grow. One day we are toddlers running into walls and putting everything in our mouths, and here we are “full-grown adults.” Why do we even say that? Pay attention to your patterns. The ways you have collectively grown and learned to survive, may not be the the ways you want to continue to live. At some point you have to shift and heal.
The whole “mental health adjustment” started for me several years ago when I was diagnosed with my first mental illness; bipolar disorder with mixed episodes at age 27. I refused it. I refused to admit I had this “wrong with me,” and didn’t believe any medication was needed to change anything about me. What was wrong with me the way I had always been? I simply thought I had anger and rage issues from past traumas, but I would be fine. My outrageous behaviours and decision-making continued, and deteriorated progressively through my early thirties. I’m now 35, carry four mental illness diagnoses, and until recently, didn’t question the specifics of any. I grew into my conditions drastically, and my life gained entry into uncontrollable spiralling. Many times I refused treatment because the medications prescribed to me made me feel so “flat,” or, “flatlined.” When I say flat I mean no emotion at all. No happiness, joy, or excitement. No sadness either, so that was good; but I was missing all of the feels. Including the good things. Everything I wanted to feel and couldn’t. Eventually it just became my way of life. Over and over. My life so monotonous and boring that I often would abruptly stop taking my meds just to feel something again. Just to spark one thought or creative idea into my brain again. Suddenly, the sick feeling you get when you’ve misplaced your debit card or keys, creeps it’s way into my gut, then my throat, and then I just know; I’m manic. Shit.
Mania is the most exhilarating, interesting, and creative feeling I’ve ever experienced. When you’ve been medicated so long (6 months or longer typically) mania feels like drug that beats them all. You feel on top of the world and can conquer all. No sleep, didn’t eat as much, which was great since the meds made me gain so much weight. I would feel this way for the better part of three weeks. While this is the great ‘fun’ part, every drug has its downside. Or in this case, several. I would make outrageous and dangerous decisions, and ultimately put myself in harms way during most occurrences. I have ruined myself financially, and made some very poor judgment calls that has cost me tons. So the great “high” feeling goes away, and you are left with one hell of a mess to clean up. Or your support system is, and was the case for a lot of my experiences. All of this occurs so rapidly it seems like. You go from one extreme to the complete other in matter of a day, because after cleaning up, you’re painstakingly depressed. This whole cycle, as I call it, is exhausting and drains you to your very core. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
If you would have asked me when I was 18 if I would have been 35 and mentally ill, I would have not taken you seriously at all. Now that I am both of those things, I feel like my growth is really just now starting. Even though I know every situation I have been in, and every choice I’ve made, has gotten me right where I am today, my “real growth,” that ‘growth from the soul’ is just now starting. Most of that because I’m sharing my story with all of y’all. And you guys support me. That is big for me. I know I will get where I’m going. When I reach my full potential, I will be powerful. I will be solid as a rock. I will be unstoppable.
Getting your shit together requires an unimaginable level of honesty. There is nothing easy about finally figuring out, YOU are the only one been holding YOU back this whole time. So we have to grow. We have to shift. And when that opportunity comes to grow, we have to run with it.
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