After a lifetime of dealing with depression and mental illness in general, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 in 2003. Yes, I know, pretty serious diagnosis. Shortly afterward, I was put on Social Security because I couldn’t work and for many years lived with the label and stigma of being mentally ill. It affected every aspect of my life; I blamed everything, like bad days or the inability to do something on the fact that I was mentally ill. I felt that because of my illness, I was inferior, defective. I still feel that way every once in a while. It’s why I think labeling someone something should be treated much more carefully in society. My label of mentally ill caused me to lose fifteen years of life doing absolutely nothing accept be what the experts told me I was. I was, essentially, useless. I was a terrible homemaker and not-so-good wife. I have nothing much to show for those fifteen years. I even tried going to school and I did earn an A.S. degree in biology; however, I couldn’t handle the stress of going to a four-year university, so that all came to a screeching halt.
All of this came to a head a few years ago. I was tired of being miserable. I had gone to psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, you name it and no one could really help me. And, of course, all the psych meds I was put on, and am still on actually. It’s quite a cocktail, but I won’t go into detail. All of the experts kept telling me to get in touch with my higher power, as they called it. So, I started thinking, if I wanted to get back in touch with God, as I call Him, then why was I not talking to a minister? How could a secular counselor help me get in touch with God? Around that same time, my husband wanted to change the congregation we went to; he wanted to go to a much smaller church closer to home. I agreed and it essentially saved my life. I found out quickly that the minister did counseling, so I talked to him about it. And, he agreed to give me that counseling. With his help, I truly returned to God, as did my husband. We had only been going through the motions prior to this. But at the new church, we were a part of something; we were necessary. With that minister’s guidance (and I’m not naming names out of respect for his privacy), and, more importantly God’s influence, I realized that I was a whole lot more normal than I had been made to feel by the mental illness experts. I started to be useful again, to my husband, to the church and most importantly, to God. I had finally shed that label of being mentally ill. Additionally, I am no longer on Social Security but am working on a stay-at-home virtual assistant business.
Now, I’m not saying I’m cured of being bipolar; as I said, I am still on my psych meds. However, I do not have nearly as many bad days that was so rampant in the past. The whole point of this post is to talk about labeling. I think labeling people puts them into categories that do them no justice. We are so much more than just a label. So, if you take anything away from this, don’t label people. We are a complicated species and one single label is laughable in explaining our existence. Are you labeled? Then, let it go. You are so much more than that. And if you label, stop. People grow when they are allowed to exist without the labels that society gives them. Labels minimize growth; at least, in my humble experience. As always, feel free to comment on this subject, ask questions, and find peace with yourself.
Blessings to you all,