Trying To Stay Positive When Facing Mental Illness


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Mental illness is hard. I wish it were easy once you started on meds. I wanted to believe it would be easy. I've been forcing myself to stay positive, but it's tiring. Because the meds don't solve all the problems. In fact, sometimes they create more problems.

I got really discouraged when I started reading mental health blogs, looking for support. I came across one particular blog post that called out those who said their mental illness had brought them something positive, that they simply couldn't agree with that. That it was true that they grew with their bipolar out of necessity, but it was nowhere near worth what it had taken from them. I certainly understand that there's a lot preventing us from staying positive, like the amount of stigma we face in our lives. I've heard of people with bipolar being ostracized by family members, being seen as unfit to care for children or spouses, or being fired from their jobs. Not to mention the stigma we face from our own healthcare professionals.

For me, I don't know. I suppose my bipolar took something from me. But it was something I never had. I was never going to have a normal life. I have to believe that my bipolar brought me something positive. It's important for me to turn it into something constructive.

the impact of optimism

The truth is, much like my moods flip-flop between being elevated and depressed, so does how I feel about being bipolar. I can definitely say that my manic episode was one of the best things that's happened to me, because it taught me a lot, and I was lucky to have been safe throughout it, so it didn't do me much harm except the harm that was done to my brain. But being bipolar in general? I'd much rather not be, of course. But it is what it is — and I've been saying that a lot lately.

It's hard to stay kind and positive when you're dealing with stigma. Based on what I've read on bipolar forums and online support groups, the level of stigma I deal with is much less than what some people have to stomach; I'm lucky. I know that I'm lucky. But facing stigma and judgment still hurts. It makes me want to isolate myself. I feel like no one understands me. I know it's too much work to try to understand someone with mental illness. I don't know why I thought it would be different.

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