Wow things are starting to happen for me and my dream of becoming an advocate for raising awareness and removing stigma about mental illness. Not being shy, I contacted the head person of the mental health advocacy board in my region asking to meet with her to discuss the possibility of presenting topics about my struggle and journey with mental illness. I really wasn’t expecting a reply, but not only did I get a reply, but they requested a meeting with me!! And it’s tomorrow!!
The next thing that happened is I also heard from the Health Services Head who also wants to meet with me to discuss peer led initiatives for mental health from a patients perspective. That meeting is set for next Wednesday!
During this time that I have been off dealing with the latest round of instability, I set one of my goals as becoming a voice for the mentally ill. I have been working on building my identity and this is something I can feel passionate about. It is also a skill from my therapy – contributing – that I’m using in my recovery.
I have never held back in discussing my own mental illness and I hope that by sharing my journey, I can help ease someone else’s. It has been a difficult road to travel and I think if I had had a road map or even a compass I may have been further along in my recovery. There weren’t any maps and the compass must have been broken.
But I have learned so much. I’ve learned about my illness and how I can try to better manage it. I’ve gained skills in how to lead an honest and valuable life and I’ve gained the self confidence I need to accept myself for who I am. That involved years of group therapy, individual therapy and educating myself. I’ve had to speak up and ask doctors for programs I had read about and I was a squeaky wheel about it. If I didn’t like what one person told me I kept looking for the one who would tell me what I needed to know.
Along the way I have met many broken and shattered souls. They too are lost with no map and a lot of them do not feel worthy of asking for more. They numb their pain the best they can and they exist. Not living, not dead – just there. Could you imagine waking up everyday just waiting to fall back asleep? Not enjoying things in life like relationships and feelings.
I’m working on developing my first presentation on what it’s like to live with a mental illness. I plan to talk about the symptoms I experienced and the pain I felt. It’s just one more step on this exciting journey of life.