Mental illness is surrounded by a glut of half-truths and untruths. If you tell someone that you’ve been diagnosed with, for example, bipolar disorder, they are likely to roll their eyes and say, “I don’t believe it – you don’t look mentally ill…?” What does mental illness look like then?
Which brings me to my question: Do I perchance look like I have Bipolar Disorder? I don’t think I do. Am I perhaps making something out of nothing? Self-confidence and self-esteem slid into the basement and remained there for too many years. Trudging through the mud, and finally locating a ladder to climb up, rung by rung, I achieved the surface. An awfully scary surface.
To look at me, I hope you’d never guess I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and struggling with PTSD. There’s no sign around my neck, but if you worked with me, for example, you’d soon notice that I’m perhaps “different,” or a little “odd”. For one thing, I’m somewhat negative at times, having difficult moments following directions, have to write everything down or repeated. Sometimes I can’t keep focus, have mood changes and where other people find new work assignments challenging; I sit in self-doubt and bewilderment.
“My self-confidence feels in jeopardy each moment”.
I’m the one who takes their performance review to heart. If I only score nine rights on my monthly performance review and one is negative, I feel total devastation, berating myself repeatedly. A true perfectionist, at least, I try to be, however letting myself down is somewhat of a crucifixion. But, I am your dependable employee, the one who shows up promptly for work, the gleeful one, the one who shows little anger, and the one touted as paramount in customer service. I must apply a mask for the most part.
Although I felt as if a hex was put upon me years ago, I feel slightly different now. I’m still bitter about the illness at times but realizing that THIS is ME.
Written & copyright by Deb