My First Blog Post Trying To Live To Serve: My Life with Multiple Mental Health Diagnoses
Living With Multiple Mental Health Issues
I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts. We can never be ashamed to ask for help if we’re not right mentally. We have to be our own self advocate. Sharing stories really does save lives. Former President Bill Clinton once said, “Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” I hope to someday live in a world where mental illness will be taken as seriously as diabetes. Sometimes we have to accept things that happen to us and our labels. We have to be determined and not give up even when things are rough. For me, looking back usually helps. It makes me really believe that old cliché that which does not kill us makes us stronger.
I used to wish I could go back in time knowing then what I know now but the older I get, the more I am able to understand why everything happened the way that it did. In therapy, I am trying to learn to stay in the present but it is very hard sometimes. I have some regrets but I mostly am thankful that I survived everything I did and I have better friends and relationships with family than I did when I was younger. Even though I am single and jobless I can still contribute to society in small ways. I try to find the good in every day.
I remember crying when I got home from school at least once a week if not more often for seven years. I was so sensitive to the negative comments my peers made and I felt bad about myself the majority of the time. Introverted, socially backward, highly nervous, nerdy, old fashioned outsider Those are the words I would use to describe myself from 6th grade through college. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere. Until the fall of 2002, there was no medically defined reason for the differences. Now I am 38 years old wondering what I am going to do with the rest of my life.
I have become a little less anxious socially and have made some good friends. I still spend the majority of my time alone without any plans on a Friday night because my friends live far away. But I have traveled and I’ve been educated and have a lot to be thankful for. It took almost twenty years for me to qualify for Social Security and now that I have it I am not sure if I will ever work again. All I have left is my ability to write about what has happened, my strong desire to help others doing community service, and my strong self awareness. My diagnoses are now Bipolar 1, Aspergers Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, situational Social Anxiety, and Driving Anxiety. I did not get diagnosed with the Aspergers until I was 28 years old. I think knowing that would have helped me accept why I was so different in school and never had a lot of friends. The Bipolar Disorder is something I have a hard time accepting even now seventeen years after the diagnosis but I believe that I was born different and if how I write about how I survive my struggles can help give someone else hope then I am glad I was born this way.