One year ago today I was faced with the most difficult task I’ve ever had to do in my 21 years. With the help of amazing men in my life, I checked myself into the hospital for 8 days where I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 2 Depression. Following those days, I began a long road of outpatient therapy. I learned to value myself, to care for others in ways that would no longer hurt me, and to believe in what I have. I made some incredible friends along the way. This adorable kid we call “Ducky” gave me hope when I walked into the psychiatric ward. This hilarious woman made me smile both in the hospital and during outpatient therapy, and little did I know for weeks that she was twice my age, for she acted like a giant kid too. I discovered I wasn’t the only 20-year-old girl from my local area who sought the easy way out. In fact, I had never felt more relatable to others in my life until I was at my lowest point. As this year has passed, I’ve found more reasons to hold on. I sit here writing this in tears knowing all the things I would’ve missed if I would have succeeded in throwing myself forward that day. All the smiles I’ve ridiculously put on so many faces…. The hugs I’ve been able to give when no one else was there…. The reasons to keep going just because of me…. The bonds I’ve pressed into so many new souls…. I am in disbelief I tried to let it all go. Yesterday I was faced with an incident that was very hurtful. I shocked myself when the first thing I thought to do was leave the situation and get myself to somewhere safe. One year ago, I would have done all in my power to make sure tomorrow never came for me. I’m proud to find that throughout this hell I’ve been battling with the past year, I’ve still managed to make a phenomenal amount of progress and actually believe that there’s more life left to go. I don’t want pity or sympathy. That’s not what this is for. I want to inspire and place hope into you. I’m so horrified by the idea that you and hundreds of other strangers will be reading this, my deepest and coldest secrets. This is definitely the second hardest challenge I’ve dealt with. I know I’ll be judged, that’s inevitable. In fact, it’s human nature. However, I’ve spent a year holding it all back, and that doesn’t feel fair either. If those I love choose to run and leave, I’ll understand. It’s not easy being a support to a “crazy” person. But for the record, I’m not crazy. I was born with a lack of ability to produce the proper amount of chemicals in my brain that allow me to function in the same way y’all do. I’m thankful for so many people I’ve encountered within the last year that have helped me grow and enjoy the pain and sorrows. Many of these people have been strong, brave men, and I find peace in knowing these are my brothers and friends that would die for me to live. I don’t deserve any of you, but for some reason you were put into my life and I hope one day I’ll be able to return the love that you all have given me. I’m still doubtful that I can do it, I still wake up some days and wish I hadn’t. As these tears roll down my face in guilt knowing how much I would’ve hurt you, I know there will come another day that I wish hadn’t come. I guess that’s just part of this sickness and that’s fine because on days like this when I am strong, I push myself harder and learn to fight for one less bad day. Hell, if I can get one person to have one less bad day, I’ll die the happiest I can. Now, I know this is probably difficult to read, especially since my anxious mind’s thoughts are extremely scattered and this is an emotional subject. I just figured that if maybe someone else has not a teardrop of hope left and they know my story, maybe I can put just a teardrop back in. It’s so easy for people to tell you things will get better and people who are suicidal have turned it around. Honestly, even after the therapy and medications, I still am doubtful at times. What’s to say something worse won’t smack me in the face tomorrow, ya know? All I know is that for some reason only Heaven knows why I’m still here a year later. Sometimes that makes me really angry, because I still don’t want to struggle anymore. Yet, I’ve allowed myself to and I’m glad I did just for those few and far days in between like today, where I’m actually proud of my illness and battle. A lot of misdiagnoses, an insane amount of meds, multiple attempts to end it over the course of 6 years, and I’m finally beginning to be okay with it all. Sort of. Um…. Yeah, I mean, I guess that’s all I really wanted to say at this point. I kind of don’t know how else to put anything more right now, and this was a lot. I’m never going to hide my bipolar disorder, and I will always answer questions to my best abilities if you ask. I’ll be honest even when I know sometimes the answers will hurt. I’m proud of it all. I am me, and these things are a part of me, but they are not who I am. They have just helped me to become that girl. I guess once I get everything all straightened out in my head I’ll tell the full story, or wait for someone to ask. Until then, I’m just going to wipe these tears and smile and say thank you to those who really helped me along the way. For the sake of their privacy, I’ll leave out names, but my heart and life will forever be yours, and I sincerely hope I’ve made it clear enough to you who you are. The only thing I have left to say right now is that no matter what it is, there is always more life left to go, whether you believe it or not.