Why I Am Proud Of My Mental Illness

I received a comment recently from a young woman who said she thought she might be depressed but didn’t know for sure. She also mentioned that her culture frowns upon mental illness.

It really got me thinking.

My family were embarrassed when I was diagnosed first with clinical depression and then a few years later with manic depression (now called bipolar). When a medication mistake caused me to go into first a severe manic high and then euphoria, I heeded the words of voices inside my head telling me that no one cared. The result from that can be found here “Bipolar – I’m An Overcover” if you are interested but it does have trigger warnings.

I had to fight to have even the doctors and nurses believe that I was not in control of my actions, but my family would not accept it. To them, it was one more way I was “acting out”. They weren’t alone. I worked at two companies during the 12 years before having to go on disability. Both companies “phased me out.” So-called friends backed away from me as well. Even church friends treated me with kid gloves.

So, that is when I decided that I wasn’t going to hide in a corner anymore. I was going to let the world know my frailties and if people were uncomfortable, at least they would be informed as to what was going on.

I spoke up in a sharing session at church, telling people that I suffered from bipolar and that I had a triple fracture in my back which was starting to lead to other physical problems. I spoke to our youth group about being bullied and “not fitting in.” I was amazed when a couple of teens came up asking questions. Others thanked me very much for being honest and open. I also spoke to the young adults’ group – here I was planning to give a talk similar to the youth; however, God intervened and I ended up telling them all the details of my bipolar and other mental issues. Again, I had a couple of people come up and wanted to share their experiences while others thanked me for being open. Not everyone at church was so willing to embrace me. You can’t please everyone all the time.

I went through a very abusive marriage, a family that really couldn’t understand me, bullying from kindergarten right into my 30’s. I have been diagnosed with OCD, bipolar, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, claustrophobia, paranoia, and that is just on the mental side of things!

Physically I have osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, triple lumbar fractures, total knee replacement, asthma, chronic pain, possible diabetes, and other things that are just getting diagnosed.

So, after all that, why am I proud of my mental illness?

I am currently wearing a shirt that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. This is my life verse. A friend marked it in the bible they gave me on my baptism.

I fully believe that God wanted me to go through all that I have and more because He knows I can handle it. How? Because He is the one who gave me the strength to get through it all.

Why have I survived when others haven’t – either losing through death or just not being able to break through the challenges of illness? Not because I am special, I would never be foolish enough to think that.

It is simply because God needed to help the families of those who didn’t make it through their battle with depression, etc. Or people who had questions about their afflicted family member. Or others who have been diagnosed who want to talk to someone who has “been there”.

I think that is an honor. I never ever let myself think for one second that I am cured or better than others. That is just not cool.

I also recognize the hard work I have put into getting stronger mentally and physically. I know God is in control; however, I have to be a willing subject and I am. When told I had a 50% chance of not walking again, I said “NO.” When I was told I could never work again, I got jobs as a “Nanny”, web designer, and even went to culinary school to become a caterer!

I will continue to be open about my health issues as long as there is someone who will listen.

Lydia!

 

43 Replies to “Why I Am Proud Of My Mental Illness”

  1. I live massively by Corinthians 10:13. I truly believe we wouldn’t be given more than we can handle. Having one bad day knowing there’s thousands more that have the possibility to be good or great. That every bad day has an end eventually. Its inspiring at how much you deal with though. Keep strong ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If some people frown upon mental illnesses they should frown upon physical ones such as frowning upon somebody who has a cold, a bout of flu or an upset stomach. The only difference between mental illnesses and physical ones is that the first upset the brain and the others the body. People who frown upon mental illnesses are basically ignoramus who don’t understand that the brain is an organ just like the liver and the kidney and can become ill like them due to a variety of factors. In earlier ages due to crass ignorance and religious bigotry people thought that people who had mental illnesses were possessed by the devil. That tells you all. To frown upon mental illnesses is a sign of ignorance and zero education.

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  3. You are right to say that it comes from ignorance as in lack of knowledge. And people do frown upon certain physical illnesses as well – which is why we refer to them as chronic or invisible illnesses. I am fortunate to have both types – physical and mental. But like I said in my title, I am proud of my health issues because I feel they have made me stronger as a person and I have definitely become more tolerant of others.

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  4. I am glad to see you are a strong and took a stance. I also have bipolar, anxiety, and PTSD due to medical trauma last year. It is not easy, no one wants to be around you. You are alone a lot. I have found blogging to be very therapeutic and that is why I have been sharing my story and what I went through in my blog. I look forward to reading more from you. -Bruce

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    1. Bethany, you bring tears to my eyes. I know we don’t “know” each other but I feel in so many ways we have lived similar lives. We are both living testaments that they can’t keep us down. {{{{{hugs}}}}}

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  5. One day soon God will do away with all forms or sickness, pain and sorrow (Revelation 21:3,4). When that day comes I look forward to you and everyone like you gaining relief. Until then, may God continue to provide you with strength, endurance and peace (Philippians 4:6,7; 2 Corinthians 1:3,4).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It took me a lot to get to this point. But you will find that once you do (and if you want to you can) and you start being open with others, their stigma will lessen and they will begin to ask you questions.

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  6. “I never ever let myself think for one second that I am cured or better than others.”
    Profound truth. Reminds me of the Apostle Paul, given thorns in his flesh in order to discover and be reminded God’s grace alone is sufficient.

    Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is so nice to read someone talking about God and mental health. The Lord has played a major role in helping me see the light and stay strong. Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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  8. Thank you for an inspirational blog about a serious illness.. I am currently under a episode. And almost ruined my life.. I think there’s still hope. At least I hope.. so I fight for my life and my girl at the moment. I’m looking forward to seeing more! I need to find ways of coping. And for me photography helps. And exercise.. have a nice day! Morten

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Morten, for your kind words. And hang in there. It can be a rough ride but you can gain control. Photography and exercise are two wonderful coping tools. I would love to see some of your pictures! And I hope you may gain inspiration from some of my other posts.

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  9. I’m glad I found your blog, it’s great to see other people getting their story out there! I try to blog at least once a month, I’m trying to decide how much to share, hoping it can help others. I can’t seem to commit properly and I keep allowing life and my symptoms get in the way and I end up skipping posts sometimes for several months. It’s great reading how others get through the symptoms etc, I have also been diagnosed bipolar, it’s so hard sometimes isn’t it?

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