In order to further be part of a movement which strives to promote the existence of mental illnesses, I have to be able to speak my truth. Not just write it. Not hide behind my laptop. But say it out loud, and not say it with a smirk and a wink, and a jolly, "I'm crazy." This isn't helping anyone. I'm only further promoting the notion that mental illness needs to remain in the closet. Until people can accept that there is stigma, those of us who do suffer in silence; those of us who are too embarrassed to say out loud that we have an illness -- we need to refrain from using a vocabulary which only serves to further set back the progress.
Now that I've experienced stability in mild doses as my medication is regularly tweaked to find the right balance, I question myself often. Is my thought to return to school to get my Masters something I really want? Or is it residual hypomania egging me on? I still wake at night and watch as the thoughts battle each other for my undivided attention.
I've been diagnosed as having Bipolar II Disorder. And although I spent hours, days, weeks, even months huddled under the covers wishing for a quick, tidy end to the pain, there were moments when a thought would make me throw the blankets off. The thought could be minor, like the sudden desire to make cupcakes for my kids. Or it could be extravagant and expensive like the remodeling of an entire bathroom.
Leslie Bennett is an intelligent, open-minded and highly-accomplished businesswoman who has fought the good fight with bipolar I -- and is now thriving. At one point, because of Bennett's manic episode, she had convinced herself that the people coming to visit her were not her family, but clones of them.