I used to be an outlier and didn’t feel like I fit into this world.

I was an outsider looking in to the “real world.”

My life was mine, but it didn’t fit the description of what life is supposed to be. I was barely surviving, barely holding on to life and living.

About twenty-three years ago, my beautiful, perfect, happy, “normal” floor mat of my life was pulled out from underneath me causing me to fall hard, crash and land somewhere that I never even knew existed.

I had to find a new floor mat and path of my life somehow, someway from deep within my soul.

I didn’t now how to begin the process or new journey of my life. I had to find the new me, a person I could accept and like again.

Would there be a more beautiful road to follow? Maybe a yellow brick road bringing me to the Wizard of Oz. Even the yellow brick road for Dorothy was a difficult road to travel with many unexpected struggles and obstacles along the way, but eventually they all found the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy was able to get back to her life with Aunty Em. She was happy and I hoped and prayed I would eventually be too.

However, my yellow brick road was not a yellow brick road at all, but was more like a big old pile of mud I kept sinking deeper and deeper into. There was no path for me to follow, but somehow I had to and would dig myself out of this mud pile I was living in.

About twenty-three years ago my tornado hit and I was diagnosed with severe Bipolar 1 Disorder with mixed episodes and rapid cycling which makes it a very difficult type of bipolar disorder to treat, and I was overly sensitive to medications. Sometimes the medications caused very severe adverse reactions causing me to become even more ill.

I was also diagnosed with PTSD, which triggered my bipolar symptoms. Generalized anxiety disorder and personality disorder were other labels they attached to my list of mental illnesses I had.

I struggled with severe self-injurious behaviors of cutting, overdosing on prescription medications, suicide attempts, more hospitalizations in the psychiatric hospital than I can count or remember. I lived through many horrific life experiences and then started completely isolating myself from others and hiding inside my home.

Because I isolated myself from the “real world” for so many years, I didn’t know how to unlock the key and enter back into the “real world” again and be around “real people.” I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed back in to the “real world” or if I could get back in.

After many years of struggling, I found the strength to dig myself out of the dark mud pit of my life of horrors. Eventually, I found a small key that slowly unlocked myself from my isolation prison and opened the key to the “real world.”

This new world was bright and very beautiful, but I didn’t know if I fit in. I didn’t feel like I belonged. I was an outlier to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, I could not teach special education or work full-time anymore, but I had a golden key to start working part-time again. I could work. I could do it. It has taken me about four years to finally find a job I love and feel like I fit in there.

I am very happy at my new job. It is a very positive work environment and that is what I need. Also, no one there knows I have bipolar disorder and I do not plan on telling anyone right now because of the huge ugly stigma that still painfully exists.

I am a mental illness survivor and advocate, but sometimes you have to find the right time and people to tell that you have bipolar disorder. I have to be careful. It is very sad, but true and I have learned this the hard way from my other part-time jobs I had in the last four years.

Also, I am hoping and praying that I will be able to make some friends tat me new job. Honestly, I do not have any friends at all. I lost all of my real friends when I became severely ill with bipolar 23 years ago.

I also started going to church, which makes me very happy. My church is a place I used to love to go to, but I was frozen for so long I feared being around other people… anywhere. This was just another painful part of my illness.

God continually whispered to me and kept nudging me to get back to Him and church. God has always been with me, but maybe I wasn’t listening well enough.

When mental illness is severely affecting your diseased and broken brain, it is hard to think the way you used to and remember who you used to be.. and it is even hard and nearly impossible sometimes to hear the voice of God and to feel the love of God and the Holy Spirit living inside you.

God has saved my life and has always been with me, even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t feel his love within in me.

I am so happy that I am going back to church again and I love my part-time job.

I love being a “real person” in the “real world.”

I am not an outlier anymore.

I am an important part of this world.

I have a good life, a purpose in my life and I matter.

I am a bipolar survivor!!!

Praise God.

 

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