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Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance

Those are the 5 stages of grief and the same five stages I went through to get to the place where I can say: I have bi-polar disorder.

This is what I know.

I have to be writing. Where that will take me, I’ve never known.

I started writing what I thought might be a book, but it’s been more of a confessional diary. My main goal? Write until I don’t want to kill myself anymore.

I’ve felt a lot of shame about a lot of things. Abandoning my business even though it took the one thing I had left (my words). Having a mental illness. Psychotic episodes. How “success” became an obsession. How every rejection letter or “no” made me sink further into self-hatred. The suicidal thoughts.

The shame I felt on top of it all only magnified an already unbearable disease. Because everything that worked before and I thought I knew was destroyed by my illness. My entire world I’d worked so hard to “heal” fell the fuck apart.

I was frozen in fear.
Paranoid.
Delusional.
And in complete denial.

This couldn’t be happening. I had to be strong. I had to be a role model. Be perfect. Keep my shit together. Practice what I preach.

I felt flawed.
Unlovable.
Broken.

I told myself I was done with “all this.” I had recovered. I didn’t have “it” anymore. But it never left. “It” was always there. And it wasn’t the normal sadness or excitement. It was bi-polar disorder. It wasn’t just being organized or articulate. It was reading a message at least 20 times before sending it. Fuck. I couldn’t deny it any longer.

No amount of positive thinking can “fix” a mind with mental illness. Believing it could brought me excruciating and unnecessary pain.

I became part of the problem. I bought into the stigma. I believed what I’d heard about people with depression.

That I wasn’t trying hard enough.
I needed to work out (which I did).
I needed to get outside (did that too).
Meditate (check).
Eat right (done).

But none of it worked.

Why? Because mental illness is a real fucking thing. It’s not a character flaw or a temporary emotion. It’s a disease. And yes it is in my head because it is my head. My messy brilliant beautiful chaotic fucked up head. And I’m not ashamed of it anymore.

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