I reflect back to 1999 when I first heard those words, “You have bipolar disorder and it’s pretty serious.” ” What? Me? Absolutely no way do I have a mental illness. And by the way I am not taking those zombie drugs you want to give me either.”
And so the merry go round of affects of a diagnosed bipolar patient in denial had begun. This would mean the ups and downs of crisis situations that would appear and then go away for awhile. When times were normal and stable I could proclaim, “See I don’t have bipolar disorder. Doctors can be wrong you know?”
Oh but hindsight is 20/20. The years I lost because I was not well enough to function. Usually lying in my bed asleep from a long lengthy battle with depression. The successful career cut short because I could not pull myself out of bed to catch a plane. And the spiral effect…the big downward spiral effect to hell. Life would never be the same again.
These days when I stand in front of an audience and tell them why they need to get care for themselves or their loved ones comes from a place of lived wisdom. I know the outcomes can be very good if the illness is treated and managed. I know it is possible because I live a “normal” life everyday.
Whatever you do don’t live in denial. Denial will bury you alive. Don’t let the stigma keep you from getting help. Help is available and treatment works for 90% of those with mental illness.
The goal is to live a life of sustainable longevity with a healthy mind, body and spirit. I am here to tell you this is possible.
But whatever you do don’t ignore mental illness. It will not magically disappear into the sunset. It will more likely spin like a tornado and completely disrupt your life and the lives of those who love you.
If it is mental illness do yourself a favor and get help. Don’t wait. Your life is depending on it.