Linea and I settled into an agreement with this illness. I respected it, I hated it, I accepted it and eventually I chose to embrace the possibilities that came with it. These possibilities included joy and thankfulness for every minute and day of stability. It also deepened an honesty between Linea and me, and within our family and our friends.
Linea and I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Kay Redfield Jamison speak about her own battle with this "insidious disease called bipolar". She noted that people are often unaware of the many who are living with mental illness and who are stable. It is much easier to keep one's story hidden when stable. It is much easier for me to put away the story of my daughter's mental health condition when she is stable. It is much easier to forget it, to pretend it is gone forever. But it does not go away. Stability is an every-single-day effort to stay healthy.
Linea and I have spent hours discussing this and we are in agreement that we have a responsibility to share her and my story for the 1 of 6 adults and 1 of 5 young people who struggle with a mental health condition and for those who are unable to share their own story. I know many people who are not comfortable sharing such intimate information with either their closest friends, their employers or the world. I know many people who are unable to do so because they are too ill and using all their energy to stay afloat. It is okay.We are blessed with resources, knowledge, information and the ability to speak about our journey. We have a responsibility. We join BringChange2Mind, a non-profit organization created by Glenn Close, the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF), Fountain House, and the International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO), to fight the stigma of mental illness and provide resources and hope to millions of people one story at a time. It still provokes anxiety but it is also freeing. Thank you for reading my story and allowing me to sort this out in my own mind. I would be honored to hear yours.