The birthday of my nephew who turned 25 years old this month of October and the demise of his friend took me back 23 years ago on Easter. This is a photo of my nephews and nieces I keep close to my heart as a reminder how far I have gone along in my journey of “mental” illness. We had more children added to this group since then.
Being released from the hospital on Easter, it was a great celebration but short-lived, I relapsed quickly. My family admitted me back to the hospital and stayed for a long time to make sure I get better. It was April fools and the joke was on me.
Some people are cruel that they are hasty calling me crazy. My response to this is “you have no idea” followed by a sinister laugh and facial expression similar to “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” that I mastered to scare the living bejesus out of them for labelling me.
When they are too quick to judge, I fire back with a retort “take a hard look at yourself!” A statement that gives them something to think about.
Stigma? That is not in my vocabulary and I refuse to feel victimized.
Crazy as I may sound, I think being afflicted with this “mental illness” is a “blessing”.
I am blessed because I learned humility, compassion, love, kindness, tolerance, respect, perseverance, understanding, recovery, patience, hopeful, peace, joy, live at the moment and enjoying the in-between.
I learned to become thick skin and have broad shoulder. I used this “illness” to my advantage. I am aware that I will have this for the rest of my life, a part of me but it does not define me.
I am lucky that the medical professions that treated me are more knowledgeable about this illness. Even the school industry is educating the children and employers are actively promoting wellness in the work environment.
I simplified my life, focus on the ordinary, and make them extraordinary.
I can educate and advocate for young ones in my family and people in the community that no one has to live alone with a disease that is hereditary or caused by adversity in life.
With care, love and prayers of family, friends and community. I have the courage to come back and live a normal life.
Should I have succeeded on dying, I will not experience the joy of watching these children grow up, get married and have their own children. To hear Baby James call me Miss Pretty is music to my ears and the best medicine to provide relief to sadness.
Do I sound arrogant? That is not my intention. It’s pointless to wallow on self-pity and negativity. There’s plenty of that going around and it’s more contagious than a common cold.
There is a positive point of view in every situation. One can maintain a joie de vivre rather than resign to c’est la vie.