I did not get here alone. You can’t get here alone.
Thursday I was talking to one of my coworkers about my blog and we started talking about how terrifying it was for me to share it on facebook (you guys, for real. I was freaking out for like two weeks trying to decide whether or not to post it.) which led to us talking about how powerful it is when you realize you aren’t alone in dealing with mental illness.
This got me thinking about ALL of the people who have helped me get to where I am.
Now this list could be a million miles long. For real. SO MANY PEOPLE. I’m surrounded by people who kick ass. By people who are patient, loving, kind, generous, and generally the best.
This illness has a propensity to turn me into an asshole. I know that I am not actually an asshole, but when I am in the depths of depression or mania, or especially mixed mania, I am not myself. And the person I am when ill is kind of an ass.
I stand amazed at the fact that my asshole self was loved so powerfully by so many. There are SO many people who stood by my side when it was not easy to do so. There are so many people who were patient when I was a mess and loved me though the dark years.
These people went through their own hell while I was going through mine.
The position of support is one that is new to me. It is really really damn hard to support someone who is in the depths of mental illness.
And so this is my love letter to those who stood by me and loved me through the shit. I’m gonna call some of you out by name. Because you deserve recognition.
Top o’ the list honors goes to. . . (drumroll please)
Holy hell you guys, my parents.
The crap they have put up with from me. There literally are no words.
My parents have been a solid foundation for me when everything crumbled underfoot. They drove me to the ER in the middle of the night multiple times when I was self harming or felt suicidal. They held me as I cried after quitting a job. They came to my apartment when I wouldn’t answer the phone because I was asleep and obstinate, and I (now, totally didn’t then) know they were wondering whether they would find me alive or dead.
They loved me.
They still love me.
They will always love me.
I could not ask for better parents.
Next on the list!
Are you ready?
Is the anticipation building?
Next on this list is my very super awesome good best friend Amy.
This kid you guys. This kid and I have been friends for 11 years now. Over a third of my life we have been friends. We met in the midst of the bad times. We met when I was taking risperdal and gained 60 lbs in 6 months. We met when everything was blurry in my life and nothing seemed real. She saw past the illness and saw me. And she was able to keep the real me in her eyes, even when I was not being me. She helped me get help when I didn’t know how to help myself. She listened to me. I live comfortably knowing that if I am ever in crisis, I have a steady, calm, strong force in my life who will stand by my side and support me as I get the help I need.
Last but so very far from least is. . .
My beautiful, amazing, kind, caring, strong wife.
She’s basically the best wife ever.
I was manic when we met. She almost broke it off with me because of that. Thankfully I started to come down when she entered my life.
She gave me reason to live when I had trouble finding it within myself. She pushed me to finish my bachelors degree. She believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. She holds me when things hurt. She loves me. ALL of me. Even the dark, scary fucked up bits.
She loves me even when she is at a loss as to how to help me. She trusts me when I say I’m struggling but I’m taking care of myself. She reminds me that more therapy appointments are ALWAYS in the budget if I need them.
She is my steadying force. The one who talks me off the edge when my brain starts going down dangerous rabbit trails.
She loves me for exactly who I am, even when who I am is a little messed up.
This post is for you, people who have loved ones with mental illness.
You are heroes. You are courageous. You are powerful.
I only have the vaguest notion of how hard it is, but know that hopefully, someday, the person you are loving will look back with tears in their eyes when they think of the magnitude of your love for them, and how you stood by them in their darkest hour.
You love us when we are unloveable.