I spent today out with a bunch of female friends, enjoying some much needed ‘girl chat’ and it has definitely paid off. I feel so much better because of it! Afterwards we visited a friend, someone who – relevant to yesterday’s conversation – found out I was bipolar at the weekend. I would say I get on well with them, and I was pleasantly surprised and grateful to find that I wasn’t actually treated differently and that things felt the same. It’s nice not to have that awkward conversation where I have to detail events or discuss myself. I also wasn’t made to feel like I owed others an apology for the anxiety I had. It was a massive relief and was the signalling point that actually, things will get better.
I dwell a bit on how things could have went differently instead of feeling ashamed. Whilst I felt alone in these emotions, over the course of the week more and more people have voiced their support for me – thinking back to my anxiety attack at a party on Saturday, so many people that saw me quite distressed are actually coming forward to me and saying that they understand and support me. I felt like everyone hated me earlier this week, but now I realise it is a minority because so many people can see past the one day I was unwell and in fact, some people have become closer to me as a result of that vulnerability. Outside of what friends of friends think or families, those of you reading have been incredible. I didn’t realise how many people have had a similar situation to me and it has really made me feel part of a community as we all come to terms with our struggles together.
So now, after what can only be explained as a week from hell that even boasted the ‘worst day of my life’ – I am much less critical of myself. Taking away the context of mental health, accidents happen and there will be things that people will condemn you for but you can’t condemn yourself. I am my biggest critic so I can truly torture myself over other people’s opinions. I realise at the very least I have to let go of what I can’t control and regardless of what stands against me, I have to strive to progress with love and kindness even when it is difficult.
I’m finally giving up on torturing myself because of my mental illness, it’s been a heavy week but I will never be able to please everyone. As long as I go forward being thoughtful, understanding and good-natured to others, there is nothing to feel ashamed of.