As I ponder my diagnosis and the time that I have spent getting to where I am today, I am realizing how important acceptance is. It is not only personal, but it is a beautiful thing to have people in your life who are accepting of the fact that you have bipolar disorder.
I recall a time when I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without feeling a sense of overwhelming shame. Shame that I was marked by such a stigmatized illness, that I was different, that I had experienced psychosis and gone ‘crazy’ at one point in my life. Not too many people can say they have experienced this and frankly it didn’t make me feel special or unique. In time and with creating Bipolar Babe I was able to utter the words “I have bipolar disorder’ without feeling such a shame but there was still a weariness around others. I can say today I feel free to share and I suppose it may be easier for me as I have shared my story with thousands of people and plan to continue doing so.
I have to say that the acceptance of having loved ones in my life has made the transition from shame to empowerment much easier. I have never met a more accepting individual than my boyfriend. I have shared some of the things that I have done due to my illness and there is not an inkling of judgement or worry. This is rare and if you find this kind of acceptance in a partner I urge you to hang on to him/her because judging from my experience, it is rare.
Acceptance is a beautiful thing and although there is stigma, it is not something to be feared, not only do we have to fight against the stigma out there, I highly suggest working against and abolishing the stigma within. It is not until we raise our voices and embrace the fear of judgement that we can truly be free and accepting of oneself.
Andrea 🙂 XO