“I guess I wanted to let you know because you have really been an inspiration to me. I’m really amazed by your happiness and light, the joy you have in your marriage and family, and the amount of love you show to everyone. I guess it helps me realize that I can get better and things aren’t always going to be so awful, that this is something that I can live with and still have an amazing life–just like you. Thanks so much for sharing your story–it really has helped me! Love you!”
“You are a very helpful & understanding person. You’ve made a positive difference for me. Sincerely, thank you. You are completely right, shutting people out doesn’t fix things. I just need to try to re-build…baby steps.”
“Thank you, sincerely! Anne, you have made such a positive & hopeful difference in my life. Be proud for sharing your unique knowledge & experiences. You are awesome!!!”
“Thank you SO MUCH for EVERYTHING! Your caring, listening, sharing, & understanding mean so much to me!! ”
These words are why I tell my story. Since I came out, I have friends from my past and even a stranger tell me about their struggles. They’ve called me brave. Brave that I share my story and brave because I get up and live life every day. I appreciate the compliment, but I do not think I am that brave. I struggled in silence for most of my life. I’ve had anxiety since I was a child. I believe Bipolar started in high school. Depression for sure did, but my anger I experience today as a symptom of my Bipolar was definitely there in high school. I was always told to “get control” of myself. It wasn’t until 9 years after my diagnosis, after I believe I truly became stable that I realized how many other people were suffering in silence just like me. My best friend is Bipolar, she was the one who told me I should see a doctor because she thought I might be too. I had someone who knew exactly what I was going through. She knew because she had experienced it. Where would I be if I didn’t have her? Sure, I have friends and family that love me and support me, but they don’t know what I go through. It really boiled down to me wanting to help people like me. Helping people that didn’t have that person in their life that knew exactly what it felt like to not be able to get out of bed. I wasn’t exactly sure how I could do that without confessing to the world that I suffer. Just because I’m open doesn’t mean I’m brave. Anyone who is suffering like I do is brave. It is SO hard to go on sometimes. No, I’m not any braver than the next person with mental illness, but I can tell you that I do feel free. I don’t have to hide anymore. I still succumb to depression. I still wake up sometimes and have to force myself out of bed. I still have uncontrolled anger. I still spend too much money when hypo-manic. But I have a huge heart for suffering, and anyone who takes that first baby step, whatever it may be, is brave.