I’ve decided to republish the original posts from May 2020. I didn’t know about my disorders then. I just knew that I was tired of being pushed around and being hurt for something that I couldn’t control. I wanted to spread the word; to speak out to let others know that they aren’t alone.
Any notes from 2021 Amber will be highlighted in purple.
This post was originally published 05/01/2020. I was worried, back in 2020, about who in my life would read the blog and how it would be perceived. Would my loved ones be angry to see themselves in my story? Would it complicate my relationships? Was I willing to risk it?
I’m in a different place now. My story is my own. There are some bad guys in it. Sometimes the bad guy is me. Sometimes it isn’t. I was being as honest as I could back then, though. I just wasn’t ready for the same level of honesty.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
— Maya Angelou
I recently ran into a road block in getting my medication and, even though I really tried this time to get it taken care of before I ran out, I ended up being without it for almost a month. Honestly, it was a combination of poor communication from my new insurance company, poor communication between me and the pharmacy, and my own poor executive functioning skills (I hate making non-social phone calls…irrational levels of anxiety ensue).
By the time I got my medicine, I was frustrated and angry. Luckily, my emotional state stayed pretty stable, more or less, but it made me start thinking about it happening to someone who didn’t stay stable. I speak from personal experience when I say that medication can be the difference between life and death for a person with mental illness.
This is not the first time that I have dealt with frustration with the healthcare system as a whole. I have been turned away for being uninsured in my darkest time of need. I have been misdiagnosed. I have been ghosted by a provider, who abruptly just quit all together one day. I even had a therapist who fell asleep while I was pouring my heart out to her. I was crying and I had to do a loud-cough when I got done talking to wake her up. And I know I am not alone in these horrifying and frustrating situations.
So, I got online and asked my search engine how I could help make a change; use my voice to start making mental health be considered just health. It shouldn’t be so hard to feel healthy. I immediately found numerous organizations dedicated to advocating for and helping people with mental illness. Fighting the stigma is a movement and I want in!
After a little research, it was clear to me that my best first step was to tell my story. I have used writing as a tool in my mental health toolkit for as long as I can remember and, man, do I have a story to tell. So, this is where my journey begins.
Before I Get Started…
How do you start a story like this? Almost four decades of being; learning, growing, struggling, fighting, drowning, hurting, healing, surviving. Lather, rinse, repeat. I think the best place to start is probably the beginning but, before I do, I have a few things to say.
This is going to get deep. There have been moments in my life that were extremely painful, sometimes even scary. They will be hard to write about and they will be hard to read. My hope is that they make you feel less alone and that it helps people who have not dealt personally with mental illness to understand that this is real and serious and it is happening to normal people, all over the world, every day.
Some of you know me and, more still, some of you love me. Some of you know these stories or parts of them. Some of you were there and played your own part. Some of you will have never heard them, at least not from my point of view, and they may be difficult to take in. Please understand that my purpose here is love, positivity, and recovery. This is a place of healing; not devoid of anger, but not defined by it either.
I feel like, in this endeavor especially, I must write with as much honesty as possible. I owe that to myself and I owe that to the cause that I am writing for. I also feel that it is important to make clear (for my loved ones and the people reading about them), there are no bad guys in my stories; no blame. In this life, we are all doing the best we can with the information and the tools that we have in that moment.
I am where I am because I am supposed to be.