Let’s get a bit deep and personal for a moment in the midst of all the artsy craftsy reflecting to talk about mental illness – specifically what I have been going through over the past few years and how I am currently working to help myself by seeking treatment. If this isn’t your thing, I understand – skip this post. The next one will be all about birds and watercolor and much more “on brand”. But, personally, I need to share this part of my journey for myself and I hope you’ll understand.
I know what the majority of my personal trauma is when it comes to talking about or thinking about mental illness, its stigma both personally and socially, and my own anxieties about taking medications directed at altering my brain in some way. Regardless, I still have difficulty getting past these limiting and intrusive thoughts in order to get out of my own way and get the help I need.
Sometime last year I was listening to an episode of “Art for your Ear” where the Jealous Curator, Daniel Krysa, took a moment to discuss her own struggle with mental illness. She said (in summary) that her doctor had noticed her personal hesitancy about her own treatment and mused that if he’d diagnosed her with something like diabetes she would simply take the medicine without conflict. His comments to her channeled through the podcast as though he was speaking to me personally.
Since hearing that podcast and having several different moments of epiphany along they way, I have taken a different perspective of self-care and have willingly been on a roller coaster of different medications and dosages trying to find the right balance and combination that works to treat my own mental illness. In the process, I have finally started to see some real progress and positive change in the way that I interact with the stimuli in the world around me.
I am now starting to accept the fact that I am likely bipolar “like my (late) father” but that my bipolar disorder (type II) does not have to look and manifest like his bipolar disorder. I also have anxiety. My anxiety is my own as well. I am learning that my mental illness is just that – my own – and that my own individual expectations of what it means to have a mental illness and what that looks like in my life and in my creative practice are not always rational.
I am thankfully coming through the past year of struggling emotionally with life management and am happy to be feeling a bit more like myself week by week. I have continued to make things for myself and others throughout this time away from blogging and I intend to share many of these small projects here on the blog as I resume sharing my current projects and passions as I have for over a decade.
If any of this seems familiar or you or someone you know is struggling to come to terms with their own mental illness please be supportive. Yes, be supportive of yourself if necessary. Help normalize treatment of mental illness and encourage the aide of professional help just like you would for diabetes or heart disease. Mental illness is an illness and there can be effective treatment options when working with medical professionals to diagnose and treat symptoms.
Thank you to those of you who reached out with concern during my extended absence and for those new followers who have been patiently waiting for new content after signing up – it is coming, I promise.
Much love, be safe – Megan