I believe I have a severe and persistent Mental Illness. I also believe that this does not prescribe an outcome.
I have fought through crippling crisis’, I have felt all the horrors of my mind. I know the depth of my soul; I
know the breaking point of will. I have experienced the ups and down of mania and depression, I have been horrible,
I have been noble. I understand control and at times have completely lost it. I know rage, I know hatred,
I know sorrow, and I know desperation. I have seen things play in my mind and have felt a rollercoaster of emotions
that I did not understand, nor could I control. I have been consumed by passion; I have been controlled by hate.
I have struggled with recovery; I have gotten to know the person within. I was diagnosed with Bipolar at the age of 26
and was given a new life. After treatment, I was relieved of my hatred; I was put in command of my passion. And while
I was given the tools to finally control my outcome, I was not given too much instruction on how to. It took unimaginable
time and energy to understand the true me, the me without the veil of Mental Illness. It was like getting a new soul
after 26 years, I was afraid. I couldn’t write because I didn’t know my voice, I couldn’t deliberate because I did not
know what I thought. It took 5 years of meditation, patience to come to understand who I had become. What of the old
gets to stay, what of the new should be embraced? This was a very disconcerting time in my life, the honest evaluation
of a man. Yet I got to rethink the nature of reality, I got to choose the values I wanted, the life I was going to live.
In recovery I have discovered peace and balance, I have discovered unconditional love. I have defined a life I am proud
to live and became a man I hope is worthy for my children. I have found a voice that speaks positively to those that
struggle with Mental Illness and families that need hope. I have found that Mental Illness is not defining label, but
a way to get help and thrive with a physical illness. I have found happiness in a place that once only held pain, I have
found love in a place that once only fostered hate. I was released from a prison I did not know existed and now find life
and hope in its place. I will never give up this fight and will never again be a victim because I have lived through the
horror, the recovery, and the redemption of Mental Illness.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.