You are Stronger Than Your Diagnosis

Today, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. I wrote the following with this important day in mind.

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You are strong. Even if some days (or most days) you don’t feel this is true I’m here to tell you something: You are stronger than any diagnosis you have been given.

When I was first diagnosed as Bipolar 1, do you know what the first emotion I felt was? Relief. I was so relieved to finally understand what this intense, deep, and at times euphoric, range of emotions I felt was called and an action plan to “correct” it. There was a way to “fix me” and that gave me a sense of peace. This lasted for about a day and then I started to feel the real weight of this discovery.

I had a serious mental illness.

Even writing those words is still hard for me. First of all, can we change this term to mental health disorder, issue, or struggle? I don’t like the word illness. Illness denotes a weakness that the body needs to overcome and recover from. People with mental health disorders are not weak. We do not need to be “fixed” we need to be understood and given tools to succeed in a world where we are called “crazy” and people use bipolar to describe fickle weather.

If you or a loved one has anxiety, depression, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, etc, you know that a diagnosis of one person, affects so many others in the process. For me, my life changed, but it also changed for my parents, my husband, and all of my close friends.

My parents and my husband took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. My friends were the kind ears that listened when i needed to vent about my day-to-day struggles and my frustration at being constantly monitored by my support and care team. They are also the people who hold me when the emotions in my head become too much and I need to cry HARD until I tire myself out. I know I am stronger than my diagnosis because they constantly remind me of this strength.

YOU are strong. If you need someone to constantly remind you of that, holler at me. Seriously, I don’t care if we have never met and you just need someone to be your cheerleader or just listen and remind you that you are a badass, call me.

We all need this reminder. I’m here to give you yours. Keep fighting, keep living, keep surviving and turn it into thriving. This struggle you are going through? I’m not gonna promise you that you will get through it and put it behind you; it may be something you struggle with your whole life. But I will tell you that you are stronger than that struggle and you have the power within you to LIVE through it.

Stay strong my friends. Always.

XOXO,

Heather