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When Lulu started the “Blog for Mental Health 2012” project, I was on board immediately. I mean, that’s basically what I do anyway, right? And now that the Canvas Team has taken up the banner, I’m in again.

blogformentalhealth20131I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

Obviously, I was pledged by A Canvas of the Minds.

And now for a short bio of my mental health and what it means to me…

I kinda said it all last year, except with a lot more enthusiasm and optimism than I can muster this time around. Blogging was still new and shiny then. There was a lot of mystery in a new diagnosis, despite my long history of problems.

I’ve struggled with mental illness since middle school. It started with clinical depression, then an ADD diagnosis added 10 years later. Eventually, in another 10 years (late 2011), I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It was a shock, but also a relief to have an explanation for so many years of … stuff … that otherwise made no sense.

I’ve since spent a whole lot of time and effort learning about my illness and strategies to better manage my physical and mental health. And I’ve really learned quite a lot. More than I can begin to relate without recapitulating the entire last year of blogging.

More importantly, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I know I’m doing much better at making appropriate lifestyle choices. I’m making more progress in therapy and group because I’ve finally admitted that it’s helping me, and that I actually need help. I’m struggling to balance my career ambitions with my mental health needs, and afraid to the core that bipolar will rob me of my dreams. It’s not stopping me from trying, but I often wonder if all my work and worry is in vain.

I’m tired. Living with a mental illness is utterly exhausting and no matter what I do, it will never be over. This is for the rest of my life. When I pause and think on that, it’s still utterly devastating. I clearly have some work to do on acceptance…

Yes, I know things will improve. I know, I know. This too shall pass. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.