I want to emphasize the power of community. My friend Renisha, fitness dynamo and blogger at Renewed Fitness (I particularly have a huge connection to her post about personal dealings with depression) posted a status on facebook that really resonated with me. As much as I tend to gripe about social media sometimes, there is a huge value to it. It gives you the chance to see that other people are going through similar things. Even further, every now and then you come across something that feels like a mirror. This is key because you finally start to truly believe that you are not alone. The moments that you continue to rediscover this fact allows you to not feel so strange and out of place. It also takes you out of the thinking that normal actually exists.
All that rambling to get to what the lovely Renisha posted:
The right doctor(s) and the right medicine and the right amount of medicine and the right dosage at the right time and the right insurance and the right support and the right mindset and feeling like you’re alone and trying to explain how you feel and feeling your valley dip lower for no reason and angry and emotional because “normal” doesn’t seem to want to exist and trying to be yourself and thinking that “yourself is too much for people and backing away and hiding and not responding and knowing you’re in danger of dipping too low to recover so you try to find the right doctors and the right medicine and the right amount of vulnerability and you realize this fight is never over it just slows down and do what you can, when you can… all in the name of self-care and self-worth.
When I read this, I was a week into a new psychiatrist, 2 new medicines, insurance changes, and in the process of (still) looking for a therapist. I had a conversation with a close friend just days earlier about the stress of balancing those things AND navigating life. It was one of those tearful, high emotion talks in which I started letting a little hopelessness creep in.
A little backstory: In my 2 years of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder I have had a tumultuous relationship with medications. With mental illness at times with prescribing pharmaceuticals it is essentially a crapshoot. I have been on 6 different medications in varying dosages and combinations. I dealt with a psychiatrist who wouldn’t prescribe me any sort of sleep aid because I think she was cautious because I had overdosed on them in the past. I had one medication cause me to gain 30 lbs. in about 6 weeks. I’ve had medicines that made me feel like a zombie. I had drugs that just plain didn’t work.
I was feeling alone in my frustration and anxiety was looming. But just like that, I ran across her post and I felt connected. Connection and community has this amazing ability of making your way a little clearer. Does it give you all the answers? No. But what it does is give you a safe space/forum to figure out those answers and even the questions, and keep on fighting everyday. Seems like a good deal to me. Thanks Ree-Ree.