I was reflecting earlier on my life, and whilst I feel content most of the time; there is a major aspect of my life that I will never be completely at ease with.
I am referring to not only having the illness Manic Depression (I cannot abide the "B" word and have no idea why), but also the unbelievable stigma that goes along with having this illness which my consultant once told me in a very serious tone, "Arlene, this is something that is never going to go away...." I must have been in denial again.
The stigma seems far worse to me at times. Some people, for whatever reason, cannot and will not look beyond the illness, and see you for the person you are, and the good person you are trying so hard to be. The whispers, the nudges and the 'looks' behind your back, and sometimes not behind your back, can be very difficult to absorb at times. I guess you are an easy target for these people, who view your illness as a weakness.
I actually do not see it as a weakness at all. My admissions to hospital have strengthened me beyond belief; after all these are scary places to 'live in' temporarily. You are placed amongst all different walks of life, some very undesirable, if I am being perfectly honest. I have met some wonderful people via these admissions too though, and made some good friends, whom I very possibly would not have met through normal circumstances.
I worry about the stigma attached to mental health issues though; I can't foresee a time when I will be free from this. I fret about the future, and if this is going to be a constant barrier to me getting on in life and rebuilding my career. I feel I have to prove myself ten times more now; and whilst I do this every day, well it does get exhausting at times and sometimes you feel like giving up and admitting defeat. Only sometimes though, and for the most part, I find this inner strength to go on and continue to prove that, yes I have this illness, but yes I also infact have some intelligence and deserve a place in society, alongside everyone else.
I just wondered if anyone else feels the way I do? Perhaps I am taking things too personally 'out there' (big bad world). Perhaps I am super defensive about being struck down with this illness that "will never go away"; and yes perhaps I am bitter too. Oh yes I am bitter. I must stop feeling like this. I must somehow turn it around. I would one day love to perhaps be a counsellor and help people with this illness, who are perhaps in the 'early stages'. I have been high, low, suicidal, and plain numb at times. I am in a better place now. Time is a great healer, I couldn't see it during my darkest hours, but I can see it now:)
I forget to stop rambling on at times, so forgive me for that. I have said before though, and I do mean it, writing is like therapy for me, so I must continue!!
"This is me - don't try and change it..."