when life gets better

Tomorrow ain’t looking good either, just sayin’

It’s been roughly 15 years since I was diagnosed, officially, with a mental illness. I was just shy of 30 years old and admitted to my therapist that my plan was to leave her office and OD on meds. I wish I could say that was the low point, but it wasn’t.

I’ve attempted suicide four times since then, once landing myself in the ICU. I’ve done some truly ridiculous things because my brain shouldn’t have been trusted and I almost completely lacked effective coping skills. But because my mom is stubborn as fuck, and I have an amazing psychiatric team, here I am. And here I’ll stay.

Nothing tastes better than being in control of yourself

Here are just a few things I’ve learned on my journey that might help you on yours.

Don’t stop taking your meds without talking to your doctor, please. If you don’t feel like they’re working or that the side effects suck too much, talk to your doctor. There are lots of other things you can try with their guidance.

When you hit rock bottom, put down the shovel and quit fucking digging. We all have that limit; figure out where yours is and then respect it. Reach out for help.

Try to understand that you aren’t the only one who feels this way; there are lots of us who have been there and can empathize.

Also try to understand that just because today sucks does not mean that tomorrow will also suck. Trust me on this one.

If you haven’t already, try seeing a therapist. Just like not all psych docs are created equal, not all therapists are created equal. But there is a good fit out there for you. Trust me on this one, too.

It really does get better. For me it took hitting what turned out to be Utter and Absolute rock bottom and then being helped back up by my mom, some amazing friends, and great psych support. I am very happy to say that for the past five years I’ve been in a place that scares the hell out of me because I had never known “normal” as an adult. Normal is amazing, and it’s boring, and it’s beautiful.

Normal for me is a place where I can be bouncy and giggly and energetic or I can be quiet and a little sad and I can cry, and all of those things are perfectly ok.

If you need something, ask for it. If you never ask the question the answer will always be no.

50 shades of “better”

There really isn’t such a thing as “better” when discussing mental illness unless you’re talking about degrees of illness. I will never be “better” like someone who has had a broken arm can be considered “better” because the bone has mended. I will never be “better” like someone who had pneumonia is “better” because the pneumonia is gone.

But –

I am a million times “better” than I was ten years ago.

I have struggled, I have hit rock bottom and kept digging, I hurt the people I loved, I did horrible things to hurt myself.

But –

I am a million times “better” because I have learned strategies and I’m more in touch with my body and the way it talks to me. I listen to my doctors and my mother and Lancelot when they tell me I’m not acting like myself. I take care of myself. I take my medicine. I sleep.

But –

I won’t ever be cured, or healed, or however else you want to describe it. There will always be times of struggle. There will always be tweaks to meds. There will always be a need for therapy. There will always be constant care and feeding of the demon Bipolar, and that will always be my full time responsibility.

But –

That’s how I am “better” than I was ten years ago.