When My Mental Illness Wrecks Me

A twenty year old woman makes plans to go on a road trip with a friend over the weekend. She plans everything… The route, what stops to take, what music they’ll listen to and what to bring. She plans for worst case scenarios and has not one back up plan, but two… Just in case.

She has the car checked out before she leaves to ensure the car doesn’t break down, even though it was safety-ed just over a month ago. She checks the tire pressure, the oil and fills the car up with gas. The car was cleaned, garbage and random left-behinds removed. She thought of everything.

The girl and her friend get in the car, buckle their seat-belts and chat about their weeks leading up to the weekend. Everything is falling into place and its perfect. They come to a red light and wait for the green. The light changes and the woman – a cautious driver – checks both ways before pulling out. She did everything she was supposed to.

She pulls out into the intersection and out of no where flies a semi truck, smashing into the side of her car, sending the car flying.

She’s going to be okay. So is her friend. But the carefully planned out road trip is over and the road of recovery is not going to be a short one.

That’s what it feels like to have my mental illness.

I sit down. I make plans… detailed ones. I have back-up plans. I have routine doctor visits and go see a counselor every couple of weeks – even though everything is going good. I make sure I take care of myself, get enough sleep, avoid large amounts of stress. I set boundaries and remove hazardous things and people out of my life. I have people in my corner who love and support me. I enjoy my life.

I know the triggers and the warning signs… I know what to watch for. I’m prepared for whatever happens: manic episodes followed by severe depression. Even random panic attacks.

Life is going great and then WHAM.

Suddenly I cannot get out of bed. Suddenly I’m sobbing in a public place. Suddenly my life seems to turn upside down even though NOTHING IS EVEN WRONG!

Suddenly my Depression or Anxiety or my Bipolar Disorder hits and it throws me completely off track, leaving me a crumpled mess like a car that was hit by a semi, with days, weeks or even months of recovery ahead.

That’s what it feels like to have my mental illness.

But here’s the not-so-secret secret… No matter what happens…. I will always pick myself up and keep moving forward. Because I will never give up.

10407911_381659608709717_5593303683011749961_nNichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, student, daughter and friend. She’s working on her Marketing Diploma and has a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.

Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.

You can follow Nichole on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin and her Personal Blog.

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