At the age of 5 – or there about – we are so excited to go to the big kid school, and everything is possible.
The age of 16, we can drive a car. Woo Hoo!
At 18 we can vote, and fight for our country.
At 21 we can do everything else which has been denied us–except rent a car, and claim independent status on the FAFSA.
Some of us were bullied, the class clown, the beautiful-spunky cheerleader, the captain of the football team, the geek/nerd/genius, shy….
Life evolves, and we become who we are–due to the environment we are raised, the influence of our peers, the parenting style of our moms and dads, current day influences–such as the invention of stinkin’ social media, and how we interpret all that influence in our minds.
We develop dreams of what we could be as adults—the possibilities are endless.
If we believe in ourselves and our capabilities.
Changes I hadn’t counted on being a challenge were plentiful.
Becoming a wife. Whew! Big change from the single life, isn’t it?
A mother. Oh, what was I thinking? How can I be a mother? …and all the beliefs about how much I could screw up a child.
A stay-at-home mother, dependent on another person to provide for me.
Adjusting to the kind-of-empty nest. Maybe it’s best described as, my kids didn’t need me like they used to. I had to redefine my life once again.
Do I get a job? A paying job? Let me tell you, it’s very defeating to hear the words, “your skills are too old”, from an interviewer. Never mind all the volunteer work that kept my skills current.
I accepted all those changes, and if I were to be totally honest with myself, I did an awesome job….no buts to be made, because the buts are nonsense.
I grew up with exposure to physical and mental diseases in my immediate family. The experiences shaped my personality.
I had a sense of guilt watching my brother and sister poke themselves with a needle everyday. I can remember my sister crying, needle poised over her thigh–not wanting to stick herself one more time. She couldn’t be like a regular teenager, and eat as she wished, due to Type 1 Diabetes–same lifestyle for my brother.
More guilt watching my youngest sister struggle with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis for over 30 years. Yet she continues to find joy, and lives her life.
Out of the four kids in my family, why was I okay?
I’m not. I received the mental illness curse that runs throughout my mom’s side of the family.
I woke up with tears of defeat this morning. Then a thought passed through my mind-fog – aha! it isn’t the stigma which makes mental illness so hard for some to discuss, it’s the acceptance of the disease being a part of our lives. At least this is true for me–perhaps I’m not the only one?
For three years, I have been fighting anxiety over my health. Every little pain or odd feeling triggers thoughts that I must have a tumor–cancer will return. I have finally learned to stop living in 6-month increments. Today, the information I have is all I know, until I have new information. When, and if, I have to fight cancer again, I will be ready. That fear mastered–for the most part. What can I say? I’m not perfect :D
When I was told that I had cancer, I totally denied it. Apparently, not well because it caused a paralyzing fear that I would live the rest of my life looking over my shoulder.
Same thing happened when my psychiatrist told me I had bipolar 2. It was easier to accept that I had major depression, but another thing when it came to his diagnosis. Denial is one of my good companions, and it is the acceptance of this diagnosis which will help me manage life.
I have learned all I can about lung cancer. Now I have to learn all I can about bipolar 2. Maybe there isn’t a cure, but there are management strategies. Strategies I’m more than capable, and willing to carry out.
Denial has been holding me back.
I will live with happiness and joy in spite of that little crap head trying to beat me down. After all, I’m more determined and hard headed than mental illness–as long as I accept my diagnosis and follow my doctor’s advice.
At 55, I’m looking forward to another 55 years of peace and joy.