We want to move from being a victim of mental illness, away from the “why me?” mentality. It takes time. We are healing the mind, body, and the spirit. All three seem broken at times when you’re dealing with the storms of crisis after crisis to the point of psychosis. Sometimes you experience just total loss of reality. Putting back the pieces of our lives is like a jigsaw puzzle. It takes effort and patience.
Just today, I got an email from a friend. She is a mental health hero. She is a mental health champion, I have seen her personally empower groups of people into recovery. She also lives with mental illness. What happens to us when our heroes, when we become mentally unstable, when our world we so fervently put back together unravels, what do we do?
A life with mental illness is a life of battles – at times, we take two steps forward, get three steps backward, but we are always going to get back up to take our four steps forward. My friend, who gives her life to advocacy work, has had a bad year. I’ve reached out to her in the past. She finally emailed me back, balanced enough to feel guilty, shameful, and that she wants to apologize.
That’s where the victimization of mental illness gets a lot of us. The shame, the guilt we carry with us. It’s not because we are mentally ill, but because what are illness might cause… I assured my friend that our friendship’s still intact. I’m happy for her wellness and I look forward to talking to her soon about her recovery.
We have to move away from the thinking that we can reach our recovery alone! There are many people in our community that suffer in silence. Maybe they’ll see the doctor once, twice or three, four times a year to get some med management, but what happens in between then? What kind of support do you receive between the doctors’ visits?
Being a champion over a victim of mental illness – first, we own it! That starts with education. The doctor tells you you’re bipolar, then we research everything we can find about bipolar disorder. Research the best treatment. If we are going to go the route of medications, we do our research on the medication. We learn about the medication and we ask questions about the types of side-effects to expect. Common side-effects that could be considered normal side-effects such as cottonmouth, upset stomach, maybe a little constipation or diarrhea. Some side-effects require you to stop taking the medication such as a rash, dizziness, fainting, seizures.
A mental health hero champions his or her mind, body and spirit so as to ask questions, take notes and never be afraid to stand up for his or her wellness!