This has always been an issue for me. Even when it comes to my disorder itself, I wonder if it’s real or if it’s something that I use to excuse my symptomatic behavior. I’ve had at least a couple peers tell me that I use my disorder as an excuse for being lazy and skipping out on my responsibilities. I believe that this thinking aided in my thought process to stop taking my medications, leading to my major manic episode.
I’m not blaming them for my irresponsible choice. I think I want to highlight a misconception that those with mental illness choose to behave the way they do. I’ve had to come to terms with how I behaved in an altered mental state, even when I don’t remember a lot of it. It’s not that I can wave away what happened because it’s my disorder and something I can’t control, but it does provide context and motivation for preventing this from happening ever again.
Thinking about those who have commented on my use of mental illness–I wonder how much they realize that goes into everyday life. The hours of therapy, handfuls of pills and prescription upkeep, keeping track of sleep, planning around ECT and so on. Even so, I feel those obtrusive thoughts of, am I making this up? Is this real, or am I lazy and I’m using this diagnosis as a reason for not trying?
It’s fascinating to think that only a couple of people who are completely ignorant of the actual situation can override the countless others in my life who choose to love me and care for me throughout everything. Every once in awhile my therapist has to remind me not to compare myself to others and that I’m being hard on myself for not being where I want to be in life. It’s such a massive compilation of mixed feelings, especially when I sabotaged myself through not taking medications.
I’ve heard from both of my doctors, and other people dealing with mental illness as well, that going off medications is a common happenstance. While what happened when I was entirely manic and delusional was mostly out of my control, I made the initial choice to stop taking my pills. I also chose to lie to my doctors and family and friends, telling them I was stable and nothing was wrong. It’s hard to reconcile that I’m doing well with everything that happened, when I could have avoided it in the first place.
It was a learning experience that I will never repeat. However, I can easily become bitter over the fact I had to experience it at all.
This is a loop that I have running in my mind: well at least I’m not in a worse place. But why do I have to be behind in the first place? You need to be easier on yourself; don’t go to that event if you’re tired. But what if I’m not tired and I just don’t want to interact with people because it’s easier? It’s okay to take a break, you’ve been doing a lot. But I’ve barely done anything compared to [fill in the blank].
It’s a frustrating back and forth. I suppose what I want to convey is this; living with mental illness is not easy. It’s not something I pull out to use as an excuse because it’s available and I can.
I need to remind myself of this, and remember how much work I put into my daily life to stay healthy. I also need to forgive my past self and learn while focusing on what comes next.
It’s a process.
Phew man, it’s been awhile..! Here’s an update.
- UC DAVIS IN THE FALL! I’ve been officially accepted, and been working through the pre-enrollment checklist to get all set up. I’m extremely excited, even if slightly concerned about how quick the quarter system seems to be. Still very excited.
- I visited Chicago through tagging along with my dad to a health conference (where he advocates). I got to meet a long time internet friend, see incredible art, attend a slam poetry night, and wander the city on my own. It was such a great time walking around by myself honestly, and Chicago is now one of my favorite cities.
- Turned 23 yesterday–hence the change on the homepage. I had a wonderful day with my best friends & boyfriend, and then had a family dinner with cupcakes made by my sister. Had a wonderful day even though I’m getting older~
Hopefully next time won’t be so long,
and much love.