Having a psychiatric condition means that you have an illness that requires treatment, nothing more. It doesn't mean that you are incapable or that you ought to lower your expectations for your life. Rather, it means you are uniquely capable and that you ought to raise the world's expectations of you.
I have lived a privileged life made rich by an education and resources that helped me flourish. These privileges separate me from the suffering people in Appalachia who I think and write about. But since my diagnosis, for the first time in my life, I have an immature, but nontrivial, inkling of how social stigma feels.
Both the story and the song of "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" are ingrained in our Christmas holiday narrative. This seemingly innocent and harmless Christmas song, under closer examination, is neither innocent nor harmless. In fact, it contains an insidious message that legitimizes cruelty and stigmatizes diversity.
You may always be a part of my life. I will give you that. But you will never define me. You do not make me who I am. I will have good days and I will have bad days but that is okay, because no matter what I will wake up every day and value the beauty of life that you shielded from my view for so long.