You make it through this because you are me and I was you

Over the last 6 months I have been pondering a lot about coming of age in the mental health system. Many times I thought of how many different stages I went through and how I would have loved to know during each stage in my coming into adulthood and later that everything was going to be okay and I was going to make it through it. With it being a new year, 2013, these thoughts formed this blog post I wanted to share of my present self, writing to my past self.

You make it through this because you are me and I was you

You are scared. You’re graduating high school and going away to school leaving everything you know behind. I know you are doing your best to cope. You hate everything about yourself. Your eating disorder, the drinking, the reckless behavior, and the self-injury, all help you cope with what you call madness running through your veins.

It’s okay. It is going to be okay. You make it through this. I know because you are me and I was you.
You don’t know why you’re here. They say you are depressed. They want you to talk. You can’t have your shoe strings and you have to stay calm. They are not the same as you. You think they are crazy and you are locked in the ward with them and you swear you don’t belong here. You just want to get out.

It’s okay. It is going to be okay. You make it through this. I know because you are me and I was you.
They keep throwing around this word, “bipolar”, and you have absolutely no idea how to understand the words coming out of their mouths. You went from being a college freshman with the world open to experience to playing the game of register/withdraw, medicine cabinets full of multiple pill bottles, alarms to remind you to take those pills 3 times a day, and doctor appointments a week. Programs, safety contracts, homework, stabilization/relapse prevention all while feeling like every minute of every day all eyes are watching you. You feel completely responsible, like you weren’t strong enough.

It’s okay. It is going to be okay. You make it through this. I know because you are me and I was you.
You finally made it. You’ve done the impossible. You are graduating college. You are getting married. You landed your first professional job. You are holding a job for longer than a year. You have not been in the hospital for over 5 years. You are functional despite the debilitating side effects and basic track of have rapid cycling bipolar I disorder. Everyone is pleased about a recovery you all thought would be impossible to achieve. You feel fake because you don’t show people what’s on the inside. You are afraid to let down the image they now have just as you are afraid of disappointing people. If they only knew, but you don’t want to take they chance, so you keep everything in and this time you are better at hiding the pain you are in.

It’s okay. It is going to be okay. You make it through this. I know because you are me and I was you.
You are in the hospital. You had to quit your job. You are getting a divorce. You now walk with an assistance device. You have multiple medical complications. You are back to the beginning but, worse. You feel like a failure. You feel like you let everyone down because you relapsed. You thought you could be stronger than the relapse. You thought you were better than all the statistics. You are devastated and you know you are the sickest you have ever been.

It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. You make it through this. I know because you are me and I was you.
You are scared. You are breaking down walls. You are talking. You are finding who you are for the first time. You are doing more than you have ever done. You are never thought you would find a therapist you can be open and comfortable with. You are breaking down barriers. You are working. You are taking a graduate school class. You are challenged and you are beyond exhausted. You are symptomatic. You are changing. You are opening up old wounds. You are beginning to heal. You battle between the new and the old, the external and internal, the concept of hope and despair.

It’s okay. It is going to be okay. You will make it through this. I know because I have been where you are and I will support you as you go on this journey. I know because you are me and I as you.

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