Living with chronic mental illness can be a profoundly lonely and defeating experience. It doesn’t have to be though. As one who lives with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, I can attest to this. You can choose and work toward a resilient mindset and lifestyle.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety in my late 20s after a severe panic attack earned me a four-night stay in the hospital for observation. In my early 30s, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Soon after, I entered into a willful state of denial. It was easier to acknowledge depression and anxiety than it was to accept bipolar disorder.
In my mind, depression and anxiety just meant that I was occasionally sad and “on edge” like just about everybody else in America. Bipolar disorder meant I was “weird and crazy” or, at least, that’s what I assumed people might think if they knew. So, with the exception of my immediate family and a select trustworthy few, I hid the bipolar diagnosis from the world and attempted to run from it myself.
Bipolar disorder chased me down. It demanded that I see it, make peace with it, and live with it.
It became impossible to ignore following the birth of my second child—a particularly frightening bout with postpartum depression and a series of back-to-back traumas from which there was little time to recover between blows. I had reached the end of myself. It was time to get help.
Empowered by the love and support of my immediate family and adoration for my kids, I sought the help of a team of medical professionals, including my primary care physician, a psychiatrist, and a therapist whom I began seeing once a week until weekly visits were no longer necessary.
Resilience … every … day
While I had “made peace” with my diagnosis, I also decided that I wasn’t going to continue to just lie down and take the downswings and lack of mental and emotional peace. I was going to fight for myself, for my children, and for my immediate family who stayed “in the trenches” with me.
What is resilience?
Resilience is widely defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from negative circumstances.”
Resilience—as it relates to chronic mental illness—is the intentional daily practice of choosing to thrive despite one’s diagnosis. It is a process and not something that happens overnight. Click to tweet this
How do you “choose” resilience despite having a mental illness?
When choosing to face daily life with a chronic mental illness with resilience, it is important to understand that there are going to be some bad days and that’s okay. On those bad days, sometimes it helps to “sit with” your feelings, processing and learning to understand them. Become a “student” of your diagnosis, seeking to understand it as much as possible.
Don’t suffer from it. Live in spite of it.
I believe engaging in this practice is the mark of an emotionally intelligent, intentionally resilient, and courageous individual. You can still be these things, even with a challenging mental illness.
I created this blog with the understanding that I am not alone and neither are you. I wanted to join the effort to destigmatize mental illness and give a voice to an often marginalized and misunderstood group.
While I will advocate for mental health awareness and treatment for all, I am especially engaged in this fight for women of color who are suffering in silence and under a shroud of shame.
What can you expect?
As a Resilience Everyday subscriber, you can expect to get helpful solutions about the following topics:
- Chronic depression
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Thriving despite living with a mental illness
- Special needs parenting
- Parenting a child with a mental illness
- Relationships and mental illness
- Mental and emotional wellness for entrepreneurs
- Tips, tools, tricks, life hacks, and more…
As a subscriber, you also have the opportunity to join the Resilience Everyday online community on Facebook. This group was created to be a safe space for women whose lives have been touched by mental illness in any way. CLICK HERE to apply to join now.
Choosing to face chronic depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder with resilience has been a game-changer for me. No, every day isn’t perfect. I still have days (or even consecutive days) when I have to choose to try again tomorrow. Still, by understanding my diagnoses and how they affect me or are triggered, I am far more empowered now than when I first began this journey.
If your life has been touched by mental illness, I want to help you end the stigma within and be kinder to yourself now.
Thank you for joining this journey with me. Welcome to Resilience Everyday with Ebony Pollard. I’m glad you’re here.
Come back next week to read about “momming with mental illness.”
In the Spirit of Resilience,