When I was at a job training, the task was to write down a list of what we want. The head of the branch provided his own personal examples: a nice house, a boat, a even bigger boat… you get the idea.
However, I was simply stuck.
What I want most are things that cannot be guaranteed.
What I want most are things that cannot be bought.
What I want most are things that most people take for granted.
Given the season, I created a list here of what I want, things that certainly cannot fit in Santa’s sack.
For those with mood disorders, there can always be an underlying anxiety about the disorder, even when at baseline. How long will this sense of normalcy last? When will the crippling anxiety, devastating depression, or chaotic mania come sneaking back in and take complete control? Am I feeling sad, or am I slipping into a depressive episode? Am I happy, or am I verging on manic? I want to live without these symptoms or full episodes, but I don’t know if I will.
I want to be able to speak out about being ill without fear of backlash or the impacts of stigma. If I really cannot function at work, am I allowed to take a “mental health day” or will I be called lazy/not taken seriously for doing so? When will my mental illness be taken with the same level of seriousness as physical illnesses?
Do you know how it feels to not be safe in one’s own body? Do you know how frightening it can be to not be able to trust your own perception of reality? It can be beyond terrifying. Episodes in the past have led to dangerous situations or states of mind. I want to feel safe, free from the dark grip of bipolar disorder.
Lastly, I want others with mood disorders to feel less alone, especially during this challenging time of year.
Know that you are not alone.
You have an army of mental health warriors supporting you in your journey to wellness.