In the past few months, I have received many comments about the few blog posts I did about bipolar disorder on my other blog Moving In With Dementia. I have also recently had people reach out to me for advice as they struggle with their own mental illness. I have given out my card to people who have asked me if I am willing to talk to their loved one with bipolar disorder. I have met with people for unrelated reasons, only to have them randomly share their story of caring for a loved one. I have heard rude comments and stereotype assumptions about people with mental illness while shopping in the store.
What I hear is a hurting world. A world of people who struggle with mental illness and have no one to talk to. A world of caregivers who are scared, tired, and angry and no one understands what they are going through. I hear a world full of stigma that makes it very difficult for patients to seek treatment and families to get help.
I hope my reflections on mental illness and the spirit bring another view to this disease. I hope talking about the medical, social, and spiritual aspects of bipolar disorder helps other people manage their illness. (I look for stories of people like me when I am struggling, and it helps me get through another day.) I hope this blog helps friends, partners, children and families talk about the toll this disease takes on them. I also write it a bit for myself as one of the things that helps me manage my illness is finding meaning and purpose in this disease which claims almost every waking moment of my life. I hope this blog adds one more voice to the effort to raise awareness and end the stigma against mental illness.
My wish is that this blog helps us all find a little more hope and connection in the midst of a disease that is often isolating and seemingly hopeless.