Monday, February 24, 2014

Looking at Life's Gains

(Sorry for the late post.  Midterms are coming up, and I've been trying to study for them. Busy blogger is busy.)

Most of you are already aware of the journey I've been on over the past year and a half.  I came to college as a bright-eyed, innocent freshman, and not only threw myself into a rigorous music program, but also faced new situations and dilemmas I never thought I would have to deal with.  Boys (who before college avoided me like the plague, but were now practically lining up to take me out), drama, friendships tested and some even lost... the first year of college was definitely the one that changed me the most.  I am not the same person that stepped onto campus that August afternoon in the fall of 2012.

But the thing that changed me most was my mental illness.

Bipolar disorder costed so much.  I lost friends that I thought cared about me.  My ex-boyfriend dumped me the day after I attempted suicide.  I lost my reputation to one in which I was labeled "crazy" and "unstable." It cost me my music major.  It's nearly cost me my scholarship.  It very nearly cost me my life.

But even with how much I've lost due to mental illness, there's so much that I've gained.  I've gained a wonderful sisterhood, one that has supported me through everything, and that I strive to support.  I've gained a healthy and loving relationship, one that is going on a year strong this April (I've never had a relationship last that long!).  I've also recently gained a little sister in Sigma Alpha Iota!  I've changed my major to elementary education, so that I am able to work with younger kids.  I've gained new friendships and made lasting memories with people I love.

Many people talk about the losses that mental illness brings them.  And I'd be lying if I said that the battle to control my emotions, to calm myself in fits of mania and bring myself out of pits of depression, is an easy one. But that's the thing: you don't have to face it alone.  And for those of you who feel alone out there, let me tell you: I've been there.  All those feelings you have, those thoughts that plague your mind and won't leave... I've experienced that.  I still experience that, sometimes.  But guess what?  You don't have to fight this alone. There are people out there that love you and care about you.  And if you can't find them in your hometown, there is a strong Internet community out there.  I've actually found myself flocking to sites like Tumblr and YouTube and seeing the kind words that people post there.  They may not be directly aimed at me, but their presence reminds me that there is good in the world.  If I could sum up the point of this post in a short sentence, it would definitely be this one: Measure life not by losses, but by gains.

Love and Coffee cups,

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