After my post last week, I wanted to give everyone an update as to how I am now. Whilst I haven’t been okay for a while, I am very glad to say that I am now on the upward swing! 🙌🏻
For many people, mental ill health is a very difficult topic to talk about, and one which can be quite confronting too. I have made it my mission to be as open as I can be about my experience.
Four years ago, at the worst of my mental health journey, I felt the need to end it all, and it was luck for me that I had my incredible family and therapist helping me through each and every day, as difficult as it was to believe that they were. This time around, I knew that they were there for me, and that incredible people surround me each and every day. Sure, some people haven’t been so great, others have been downright terrible, but there was one thing I needed to do: even if everyone was helping me to keep my head above water, it was my responsibility to put in my all to make sure I could do it myself.
And I did. But it took my everything to do it.
Through my downward spiral, I made an effort to give myself time to recover and recoup. Whether that was spending time with Coco, or lying on my floor in a puddle of tears, I made sure to give myself ‘me’ time. Part of this has been hitting the gym once a day, for at least an hour, undisturbed. The gym isn’t about who I am or what I look like, but proving to myself what I can DO. In six weeks, I am now able to leg press 100kg, up from 40kg, and I can do 20 minutes on an elliptical without having a cardiac arrest. For me, my performance at the gym has been a testament to my capabilities – something I often forgot when my mind turned to nothing but ‘I can’t do it… I can’t do anything’.
The second thing I maintained was not apologising for my condition. Throughout university, I was plagued with guilt about being the Debbie Downer amongst friends or feeling inadequate because something was inherently wrong with me. Today, I stand unapologetic for my Bipolar 2 Disorder. I cannot always control my depressive episodes, but like a person with diabetes, I can regulate the severity by controlling my surroundings. I am not to blame for a condition that I was born with, or developed as I grew up. I do not apologise for having no will to live for no reason at all.
What I do apologise for is not helping others to understand what they can do to help me. It’s difficult to explain why not being able to open a bottle of asparagus made me feel the need to kill myself, and why Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ reduced me into a big ol’ pile of tears.
But you don’t need to understand what I feel, because you need to know that it’s not you. It’s not what you’ve done. I don’t need you to walk on eggshells around me and I don’t need you to have all the answers for my problems. I need you to accept that sometimes things aren’t so swell and that there is no reason why, and that I’m not myself and that you accept that it’s not my fault that I am flakey or down. I need you to accept that I’m not doing okay, and that in itself, is okay.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know now that I will survive life and whatever it’ll throw at me. From the depths of despair, I know that there’s always a way to rise above, and though it may take me time, and it may take me space, I will be okay.
I want to thank each and every one of you who shared your stories with me, and I want to continue being your reason why not being okay is okay. I feel so honoured to be the person you reach out to and with whom you share an integral part of your life. And I promise that I will fight for you through my own fight.
Thank you everyone for being here for me ❤️