I am 56 years old… The funny thing about that is up until a month ago… I forgot to remember that I had a birthday and so for 6 extra months… I remained being 55… HAHA… I cheated the system… but now… I am just 56.
I was first officially diagnosed with depression at the age of 20… When I say officially… I mean… I was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for the first time.
This is when I first began my journey with mental illness…
It took another 26 years before I received another diagnosis on top of severe depression… In 2009 I was given the dual diagnosis of dysthymia and chronic depression.
I never understood what it meant to have dysthymia… It has only been these last few months that I have dug deep into the definition of both my disorders…
I have discovered that the dysthymia is what causes me to REMAIN in a constant state of sadness… all the time… I am never normal… I am never FREE from sadness and distress… but learning this has been a huge KEY to my understanding of it all… It has allowed me to accept that I am sick… without dragging a ton of guilt and shame with me… I truly am SICK… but my illness is INVISIBLE.
The creation of this blog is in so many ways a BEGINNING for me… a NEW BIRTH… an acceptance that I have HOPE to carry out the rest of my life with DIGNITY and GRACE… I am NOT a terrible monster… even though I have often felt like one.
I am here to share HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT to all those who enter this blog space… no matter what your diagnosis… I am here to PROCLAIM that it is OK to be where you are at… I am here to say that YOU can get through whatever it is you are going through… and there is POWER in NUMBERS… YOU are NOT ALONE… You are SPECIAL and UNIQUE… no matter how others have made you feel in the past… no matter if you FEEL misunderstood and judged… no matter if you are exhausted beyond understanding… THERE IS HOPE… and there are pockets of JOY along the way for you to grab onto… There is laughter… there is beauty… there is LIGHT…. at the end of the tunnel… One day at a time.
It is my hope and my purpose to WELCOME all who enter here… You are SAFE here and you have permission to BE WHO YOU ARE… WE will take you EXACTLY as you are…. the good… the bad… and the ugly.
It is my daughter who suggested starting this blog… she has her own journey… and it is different than mine… She is the survivor of being raised by someone who has been deeply affected by mental illness… and it is her FORGIVENESS to me that has allowed me to continue this painful journey called LIFE.
I must say… for me… this comes at the perfect time… as I am finally READY to share my journey with others… For 35 years… I have suffered in silence… trying to keep all the broken pieces of me in a neat and quiet pile… so that others would NOT SEE how very difficult things have been… I have carried guilt and shame like pieces of clothing… stuck to my skin… It is time to rip them off and begin living with purpose…
I am honoured to be here… and I am grateful to be here.
~ Momma Bear
**Lady D here! I am so sorry to all who look forward to these posts each week, I got a bit behind the last few weeks and I am trying to get back into a schedule. We are not stopping anytime soon. Thank you for your continued patience as we continue to find our ways.**