For the last three months I’ve struggled to open my dashboard and start writing a post for this blog. In August, I was immensely depressed to the point of suicide. In September I was ecstatic, but quickly fell into the grasp of stress and reality. Now it’s the middle of October and I have to admit I’ve been functionally ill.
Times of transition are difficult for everyone. Ending my Master’s degree was both a huge success but also a bittersweet goodbye. In the midst of searching for a job, I was left with nothing to guide me to my next step in life. It was devastating to feel like I had left a life behind and fallen into a void, and that darkness seeped through me like a sponge soaking up water. I was convinced that my life had come to an end. I started planning who I should give my belongings to. I had a plan.
For the longest time, I never thought I would live to see my 25th birthday. I was convinced I would end my life by then and follow in my brother’s footsteps. And yet every time I find myself about to shake death’s hand, I feel a tug in my stomach that tells me something isn’t quite right. For reasons I can’t quite explain, I keep moving on. I trudge through the black, ichorous swamp in darkness; eventually I find land. I can’t explain my resiliency, but I hope one day I can.
When I woke up on my birthday, I realized I would have to keep going. My window of opportunity was over. It was time to move on. But to what? So ensued several more weeks of that numbness that chills to the bone. I didn’t ask for help. I just curled up into my depression and stayed there for a while. And then I got a job and immediately had to try to smile.
The funny thing about working in mental health is I keep thinking people will — at the very least — have the tools for maintaining their own mental health. Sadly, I keep having to remind myself this is not true. So while I was extremely enthusiastic to land a job in my line of expertise, I was also thrust into an environment that is still ignorant when it comes to mental illness. Thus my stress continued.
It’s difficult wanting to write about mental health and mental illness when I go to work and have to be an advocate for myself and others. I feel like I’ve been fighting stigma on a daily basis, and it’s been completely draining. So when I look at Redefining Bipolar, my mind has just said, “I can’t today. As much as I want to, I just can’t.” As I write this, I have a headache that I’ve been trying to manage for the past couple weeks. It’s been taking a huge mental and physical toll.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve managed to submit a PhD application and I truly enjoy working with the individuals I have the privilege to care for. I stopped keeping everything inside my head and reached out to friends and professionals for help. I started journalling and found it inside me to write this very post you’re reading now. I’m finding my inner strength to make change in the workplace and looking forward to hearing about whether or not I can return back to school.
So that’s a little of where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’m not sure how active this blog will be for the time being. But hey, I’m here.