I live with a mental health condition called bipolar disorder, whereby I take medication and thankfully for some years now, I am stable. My mental health issues date back to 2005 and began with depression which I then self-medicated with alcohol. Many times over the last couple of decades, I have felt very alone and isolated. I felt no one could understand my concerns, worries and troubles. I often felt no one cared, although people did attempt to reach out.
I tried self-help books, various medications and therapies, and support groups. Some of these helped for a time, but eventually the effects faded and the issues returned. Nothing clicked and the fears and negative thoughts spiralled into suicidal ideation.
It wasn’t until I was ready to give myself permission to love myself, that the issues began to fade. As I spent time journaling, meditating and sitting in silence listening to my heart, I began to become aware of the repetitive stories I was telling myself. And that was key – awareness. Once I became aware of the story I was telling, I became aware of the emotions surrounding that story, and once I became aware of these emotions, their power faded and my mind and heart settled.
Today, life isn’t perfect. There are days I feel off and there are days I feel great. But most days I am living a happy life somewhere in between and I am beyond grateful for that. The most important lesson I have learned is trust. Trust in God, trust in myself and trust in those I love. We are here for a reason, and that reason may be as simple as learning to love who we truly are within.