Last weekend was a hard one.
It was a holiday weekend and it is supposed to be fun, filled with love, family & celebration, but every year it hangs over my weary head.
In the run-up to Easter, I get very nervous as to what will or could happen.
6 years ago, last weekend, I was completely out of touch with reality.
I was deep in psychosis and my days were made up of hearing, seeing, even smelling things that did not exist in this realm.
After a very disturbing couple of months in which god and the devil were incarnated by people in my life, a strong battle of my religious beliefs ensued. I sold all of my belongings on a request from God, moved into my car and began a pilgrimage from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia, in a bid to find 'new Natalie'. I had a firm belief that I was an angel and made my cross country road trip without a map or direction, but instead with gut feelings and signs from the universe.
The road ahead of me was troubled, but nothing could have stood up to how troubled I was before psychosis.
Psychosis to me was an awakening.
Throughout this time I had extremely impaired judgement and I dug myself a deep mental hole in which nothing made sense, but everything had meaning.
After almost 6 months in this state, I was hospitalized and medicated. I found clarity in antipsychotics, they allowed me to return to a 'normal' state of mind - something that I am very thankful for, even if I continue to believe in the magic that is.
6 months after my hospitalization and after copious tests and assessments, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and PTSD.
The following 5 & 1/2 years have been building blocks in my mental wellness. I know today that I stand strong with care strategies, medication regimes and crisis management plans that allow me to be myself and keep me far from the end of my existence.
Throughout the years, throughout the depressions, the manias, the self-harm, the suicide attempts - nothing could have prepared me for psychosis.
I hope that I never in my life return to that state of mind, but I am thankful for the lessons it taught me.
My inner demons came out to play and I learned what I was made from, what trauma I could let go of and how to move forward as a positive and connected human being.
Mental illness can be trying, it can be painful, but it can also change your perspective for the better.
I really hope that no matter how dark it gets, no matter how much you are hurting and no matter how much you want to give up, that one day you will have the epiphany I once had.
IT DOES GET BETTER.
There IS another side to mental illness and I hope you get to see that.
I hope one day you shine like the star you are.
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