Monthly Archives: November 2015

Brave

I recently submitted a video to a “Ted”-like speaking competition. While I did not get selected for the final presentation, a particular line of feedback stood out to me.  “Very  brave of her to share such a struggle”.

And while it was meant as a compliment, it rubbed me the wrong way.

See, I’m the “Manager of Business Intelligence” in my day job. That’s a fancy way to say, I spend my day helping programs/initiatives set goals and benchmarks for success.  Then I comb through their data to see if they’ve met their goals or how they can improve.

So I’ve always challenged myself to truly set metrics to my one of my life goals: “Raise awareness of mental illness and reduce stigma”. That’s always stumped me a little; after all how can you measure something so vague. A few metrics I’ve considered:

  • Reduction in years between onset of disease and treatment
  • Increased employment of individuals with a severe and persistent mental illness
  • Decrease in Suicide Rate

I still think these are crucial, but the comment made me add a new one. I don’t want it to be considered ‘brave’ to admit you have a mental illness. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; so why can’t it be something that is as common place as admitting you have allergies or a bum knee? Sure, maybe not first date material or a linkedin profile description, but certainly not something that initiates the feedback that “it was very brave” to share it.

If I have a daughter with a mental illness in the future, I don’t want her to face this response.

Of course I want my daughter to be brave.

I want her to have the courage to stand up for what is right, when everyone else is swimming the other direction.

I want her to have the courage to admit her love and devotion to Christ.

I want her to have the courage to pursue dreams that seem impossible.

But have the courage to share she has a mental illness? No. That I want to be easy.

Judging by the pit I have in my stomach every time I post about or share my story, in actuality it does still require a level of bravery. But what provides courage to do it? Well that’s the thought and hope the next generation won’t require the same bravery.

 

My Break-Up with Mania

I recently (ok a while ago) wrote about my affair with mania. Since I gave you a brief look into our love story, I thought it only fair that I share the break-up letter I wrote him as well.

Dear Mania,

I know we’ve had some good times, but this just isn’t working out.

It’s not you, it’s me: This isn’t your fault–I know you’re just yourself. But I’ve changed since we got together all those years ago. I can’t take the irritability you bring out in me. Fighting the constant battle with impatience just isn’t fun anymore.

I need to focus on my job right now: I know we have such good times together. I know you’ve had some ideas that have been fun; but you’re distracting me from the things I value the most. You pull me in a 100 different directions, chasing the next shiny object, have me thinking everything is a great idea. But I need to focus on the goals outlined for the and do my job accordingly….

I’m not ready for a long-term commitment: I’m just not at a point in my life where I’m ready to make a  long-term commitment to you. While you might be fun in my youth, I want to be a mom who’s stable. I want to be a wife who manages her emotions. I want to grow into a grandma you can count on .

You deserve better: You deserve someone who loves all of you and I’m just not that person. I hate feeling like I’m going to just crawl out of my skin. It’s just exhausting to keep up with the racing thoughts. I hate having tons of unfinished projects when you go away.

My friends don’t like you: Hyper Tabitha can be quite overwhelming, and it’s too much work to constantly hold the energy in. Pretending I’m calm, trying to slow down my speech, not constantly jump from one idea to the next is wearing on me.

 I’ll always love you; you’ve shaped so much of who I am. But I really think it’s time we part ways.

I don’t think we can stay friends.

Tabitha