We all say our blessings at Thanksgiving – I’m thankful for my family, friends, house, food, insert noun here. Often times I feel it’s on repeat at dinners and holiday parties. Not to discount what anyone is saying because I have been that person and was totally okay with that answer. However the one thing I have learned to do from this time of self rediscovery is look beyond the top layer and ask questions. Look inward and become mindful of every facet of your life. So I began to think – what is it that allows me to feel all of these blessings because a year ago I didn’t feel very blessed. Gratitude was a distant cry from my life.
-My Bipolar Diagnosis-
Go ahead and look at me funny. It’s okay. I know it sounds weird to be thankful for such a confusing mental illness but let me explain.
I didn’t just wake up one day and feel I needed to go to a psychiatrist. Before my diagnosis I never felt worthy of anything. For years I had hid my feelings of unworthiness behind a wall of armor. If you would compliment me I assumed you were just being polite. If you told me I was beautiful I would discount it and look down – I still have a hard time with this but working on self-love. If you told me I was a great mom I thought “You really haven’t seen me with my kids.” I was the Queen of Self-Doubt, Critisism and Fear. Oh but I hid it well. The Great Nervous Breakdown of 2015 was God’s way of saying I’ve tried and tried but you are blind and stubborn. This was not a punishment. It was a gift. I realized I had been given two options:
1. Take medication and use bipolar as my reason for my actions and say – “I have bipolar. I can’t help it.” This would be easy but I would never heal the issues bringing on bipolar. Just bandage it.
2. Examine and treat it from all angles like someone would do if they were diagnosed with cancer. This would be hard. Sacrifice would be involved to heal me from the wounds deep within.
I chose Option #2 (with the option to say it’s ok if I have a pity party for me at times). Would I have started this journey of self-discovery if I hadn’t realized what was going on with me? Who knows? “We can’t play the what-if game (quote by the husband) in life.” It will make us all crazy. I knew the work and path would be hard and long however I had taken the easy path for years so it was time to get to work.
I’m sure when I speak to people and share how grateful I am to be diagnosed with Bipolar2 they are a bit confused. No one says “I want a mental illness.” However I think plenty of people in this time of technology, keeping up with the Jones and disconnection scream at one point “I don’t want to live this life.” I know I did a time or two or three… It took me hitting the ground, rock bottom, deepest level of my own personal hell to figure out that God is within all of us. Some could say God was testing me. I was testing myself, the light of God within me, to find my true power and abilities that God had blessed me with in the beginning.
So I guess in the end I’m thankful for God and the diagnosis that forced me to find the light within me. This journey has been ugly and messy at times but when dirt and light meet they make a beautiful garden.