Mental illness crushes. Bipolar disorder can be like exploding in slow motion.
Stigma inhibits strength. Fighting stigma forges welds in every crack the world blessed you.
I can wring the neck of my pencil, shatter the keys of my computer, and paint the blank screen with expletives and joy, all seeking an endlessly evasive cure for my mental health condition. The exigent sensation that “I can be an astronaut, a politician, a writer, a doctor, a musician, and an entrepreneur all at once–!” can swiftly drop to “my existence is meaningless.”
Writing is now the vessel for my dreams. If I can’t have the goals I was always “supposed” to have, I can still smash apart expectations and design new worlds, fictional worlds, my worlds, and ask you to share your world too.
If you, too, have experience with depression, mania, anxiety, self-harm, panic attacks, self-image issues, or any other mental strife, I hope you find a level of connection with the characters in my books. I also hope, encourage, you to reach out to friends and to strangers when you are in need. Isolation can be an exquisitely damaging comfort.
Here are some resources:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
I have worked with NAMI as a support group facilitator and benefited from the weekly meetings as a woman with a mental health condition. NAMI provides patient advocates, support groups, education, and awareness with local and national visibility. I have also shared my story in High Schools under the Ending the Silence program where we stimulate conversation among teenagers to confront stigma and the damage it can cause for young people.
According to NAMI, 20% of youth ages 13-18 have a mental health condition. Early identification and treatment is of vital importance; By ensuring access to the treatment and recovery supports that are proven effective, recovery is accelerated and the further harm related to the course of illness is minimized.
NAMI states that: mental illnesses are serious medical illnesses. They cannot be overcome through “will power” and are not related to a person’s “character” or intelligence. Mental illness falls along a continuum of severity. One in four adults – approximately 57.7 million Americans – experience a mental health disorder in a given year.
NAMI: Check out your local NAMI programs!
“your story is not over”
Their motto: A semicolon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence but chose not to. You are the author and the sentence is your life.
Many people have gotten tattoos to express solidarity with Project Semicolon’s efforts. I was pleased to hear from my tattoo artist that he has given many of these designs.
I love this emoji for my bipolar disorder: How are you feeling today, Angel? My response — :(:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
You will be connected to a counselor in your area, 24/7. Please don’t be afraid to reach out; you may be surprised to find that there will always be someone reaching back.