Just having that boost of confidence from talking to one caring person on the My Disability Matters site made it much easier for me to get myself over to the Behavioral Health office and use this new appointment as the opportunity to self advocate for myself to get officially diagnosed with Bipolar. When I met my psychiatrist, I didn’t hold my tongue. I have had a history in the past (my 10 year numb state) of bullshitting psychiatrist meetings by not saying how I really feel for fear of being judged, misunderstood by a professional and making me feel worse. Now that I found my voice, that was no longer an option. I was gonna take advantage of every appointment and be as candid as possible, without worrying about the reaction. After explaining every single detail to her in the meeting AND telling a small part of my life story, not only did I get diagnosed with Bipolar but with PTSD as well. Sure enough, we agreed the treatment I would get for now would be major changes in dosage of the meds I was and still am already taking. For the most part, the changes did help a lot by comparison.
Meanwhile on my still-new Twitter account I was beginning to retweet everything I could find that related to how I felt. I did not tweet my own thoughts unless they were links to my blog. What was very aggravating though is none of my links got any likes or retweets from people. I didn’t even think I had any followers that would want to connect with me. A lot of these people who did follow back when I was following advocates for autism and mental health awareness seemed to still be in their own circle and once again I felt like a double standard. That night I tweeted about my frustration with it and how I felt everyone could see my links but thought I am attention seeking. I went to sleep but of course in the mood I was in, I couldn’t sleep. A couple hours later I checked my phone and noticed someone had commented on my tweet and told me she (I at the time thought it was a he but no judgement there as it is very understandable that many mental health advocates prefer to keep their identity private) did not think I was “attention seeking” but was hurting inside and needing people to rightfully listen. I felt so much better and let her know and thanked her saying “I owe you one” to which she said “You owe me nothing”.
I posted a very short blog post after hour expressing my frustration with how I didn’t get any sleep, even trying a cup of chamomile tea twice during the night. But ended the post by asking myself if that discourages me or makes me want to beat myself up, and then saying No and no. A mental health site/twitter account called #SickNotWeak liked and commented and told me how much they admire my fighting spirit and then they followed me shortly after and I of course followed back. This was a huge breakthrough for me. And while my mind was still on promoting my blog, I started to realize that none of us should be in it just for ourselves. The real change happens when we get together and support each other. So on that day, I started shifting my focus to advocating for mental health and relating my new diagnosis and life experience to the cause. This would eventually be incorporated into my blog posts as well. Within a week, I had around 50 followers. This was in May and it was just short of being a month after I joined Twitter. But this would just be one of many breakthroughs to come… (To be cont’d)