This post was first published on A Day in Mollywood.
As someone with a mental illness, I was so happy to hear that May is now officially National Mental Health Awareness Month. So it seems like the perfect time to address some things.
I recently learned I was unfriended on Facebook by some people who thought I could be "too dark" at times. Well, I just want to say -- I'm sorry. But I can't always find my rose-colored glasses. I wish I could spend my time making sure other people are comfortable with every word that comes out of my mouth. But I can't. And I also don't want to.
Depression is REAL. Anxiety is REAL. Bipolar disorder is REAL. Mental illness is REAL.
Every year, about 43.7 million American adults suffers from some form of mental illness. That's one in five, guys. You know what that means? Even if YOU have never had to live with a mental illness, chances are pretty fucking good that someone you know and love has.
They may not talk about it. Hell, I don't even like to talk about it. But I do. Because MORE PEOPLE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT THIS!
Over the years, I have lost a lot of things because of my illness. Love interests, jobs, my keys and/or my phone, memories, whole years. But the one that hurts the most is losing friendships.
I realize I'm not always a fun person to be around. I understand there are some people who, for whatever reason, need to walk away from being friends with me. And that's OK. There's nothing to forgive. I know I don't always say the right thing, do the right thing or make the right choice.
But you know what? That shit still hurts. Even if they weren't really that great of friends before? It still hurts. Because it reinforces that I am flawed. I am imperfect. There is something inherently wrong with me.
I have always had a hard time seeing through rose-colored glasses. Maybe that's my illness talking or maybe not. I'll never know for sure.
Maybe my glasses are extra thick because of what my brain does to me, which by the way, is not my choice. I didn't choose this, ya know?
Maybe my glasses have smudges on them making it more difficult to see the blessings in my life.
But every once in awhile, when I work really hard at being my best self, I'm able to take those thick, smudgy glasses off. I look around and see an amazing husband who accepts me for exactly who I am. He lovingly says he "loves my crazy" and it means the world to me that he will stick by me when I can't even find any type of glasses anymore.
Then I see my kids. My three beautiful children who hug me and kiss me and tell me they love me all the time. It may not be fair to use them as medication. But oh, they are the best balm to my soul that I will ever know. For me, no medicine on the face of this earth could replace their warmth, their smiles or the way they make me belly laugh every single day.
And my family -- my mom and dad, my three beautiful, wonderful sisters. I don't write about them here very often. But through thick and thin, they have always had my back. Even when we were screaming at each other and fighting -- I know we would do anything for each other.
Or my friends -- I may not have a ton of them, but the ones who have stuck around? They are worth more than gold to me. And I hope someday we are old ladies together, laughing about the hard years and the good years.
I'm not trying to guilt anyone into feeling remorse for walking away from me. The truth is, I don't really want to be your friend if you don't really want to be mine. I know I've hurt people. I've know I've made mistakes. I'm not a perfect person.
But I am A PERSON.
A living, breathing, feeling human being who has an illness that sometimes makes it difficult to function like a living, breathing, feeling human being. All I know is the best kind of people in my life are the ones who stay and say...
I don't know where your rose-colored glasses are but let me help you look.