I want a better life for myself and for my children and I have learned a very valuable lesson that I want to share with you today. It has taken me 5 years to reach this point in my life where I know I hold the key to my own happiness.
Don’t waste time placing blame onto others, accept there are some things in life you can not change, like your past but if you want to make your life better than you have to make changes and be prepared to carry them through and work hard.
I have yet to meet anyone who is truly happy, there is always something we want to improve, we as humans strive to be the best we can be and I think we should be doing just that, obstacles may well be in the way and while they can slow us down, they don’t stop us.
Why I want a better life
The psychiatric sat across the table from me, fiddling with his tie as he waited for me to say something, but what was there to say?
” What do you want me to do for you Emma?” he asked
” I want you to fix me” I begged him ” I can’t live like this anymore, I want a better life for myself and my kids”
And that was where the problem lay, I expected someone else to make my life better, I had yet learned to take responsibility for my own happiness.
” I can give you medications to help stabilise your moods and offer CBT and other talking therapies but I can’t change your life, Emma, only you can do that” he was telling me.
What the hell was wrong with this man?
He was the crazy one, not me, this guy had read every mental health textbook written and had spent 5 years, at least, studying for a psychiatry qualification and had been a psychiatrist for over 20 years yet he couldn’t fix me.
What was the point of having shrinks if they couldn’t make you better?
” So you can’t fix me?” I manage through the sobs
” I can’t fix something that isn’t broken,” he tells me
” Not broken” I scream at him ” I can’t live this way, every day I have thoughts to kill myself, I don’t trust myself alone with my children, I call that broken. I want a better life than this one, I can’t cope anymore I don’t want to be here”
” Then you need to change how you see yourself and your life”.
We would work on that over the coming months and it wasn’t easy.
Yet I began to slowly realise that I wasn’t broken after all, yes I was surviving and not living but I had a choice to stay that way or change it.
I had a choice to take medication, to go to therapy, to accept responsibility for things I had said or done.
I want a better life and I know you do
Five years later I look back on that day when I sobbed “I want a better life” and I can’t help but feel saddened, I was a mess, there are no other words to describe me.
Bipolar had robbed so much of me, my business of 9 years was over, I had ruined friendships and my family was ashamed of me.
I was doing and saying things to hurt people I loved.
Friends became afraid of me, my marriage was at rock bottom and my finances were crumpled.
I didn’t feel safe to be left alone with children, I didn’t want my children, I blamed them, if I didn’t have kids then I wouldn’t feel guilty about taking my own life, they kept me living when I wanted to die.
I had no control over my thoughts. If I thought something then it must be true.
Paranoia swarmed me and I was stuck in a deep, dark hole of despair.
But you are not your thoughts and over time and thanks to intensive therapy, I learned that I do have control over thoughts and, more importantly, my reactions to them.
It was that conversation with the psychiatrist that was a turning point for me, nothing was going to change if I didn’t fight to change it.
Where do you start when everything is wrong?
You set yourself short-term goals, easy and manageable baby steps.
The biggest hurdle was to learn to accept my mental illness, I want a better life for myself but that life involves bipolar as there is no cure for this disease that rages in my blood.
I had to change the way I saw things, dealing with emotions is never easy, especially when you’re manic-depressive as your emotions can change so quickly.
I also feared losing more people I loved, if I told them the thoughts I had they would fear me, yet I had to start being honest about how I was feeling. This helped me with my behaviour and angry outbursts.
This helped me with my behaviour and angry outbursts.
I want a better life and so do you if you think about it, when are we ever truly happy, what are your dreams and goals? Have you reached them yet, why are you waiting?
We all want to feel fulfilled, we all need to feel we belong, it’s part of our genetic makeup. I was a successful businesswoman with her own brick and mortar shop once upon a time, yet I lost it all, I have learned never to be complacent with life.
Always be the best you can be
I have also learned that you never have to settle for second best, with hard work and dedication you can achieve your goals and dreams, but you are the key to opening the door you feel has been closed on you.
You actually decide how you deal with negative thoughts and while they can be distressing, you can believe them or challenge them.
I choose to challenge mine.
I want a better life for myself like you do, why settle for a life that’s not making you happy?
You only get one shot so let’s make it count.
It is never too late to change
I have rebuilt my bond with my children, we are closer and stronger than ever and I never hide anything from my family now.
If I am having a bad day I tell them, so they know the person talking isn’t me, it’s the illness and they can brush it off.
I have salvaged some relationships, yet some suffered beyond repair, my marriage ended 8 months ago, too much damage had been done, although he remains a huge part of my life.
I accept I made many mistakes along the way and I have apologized where I can.
Some still hold me in contempt, some refuse to accept my apology and refuse to acknowledge it was never really me, it was my illness.
I have lost my business, marriage, friends, brought shame on my family and was even arrested.
I self-harmed, I starved myself for years which manifested into an eating disorder which I still fight.
I think I have been punished enough for a crime that was never mine, don’t you?
I had bipolar, a severe mental illness that caused me to destroy my life and hurt others.
I had no control over what was happening to me until I accepted I had to change my outlook on the illness and my life.
If I can change then anyone can
I was able to change my life and I know if I can do that then anyone can.
But for changes to happen you have to make those changes.
You can not expect others to fix your problems, while support and love can help you, initially the hands of happiness lie in your own.
I want a better life for myself and for my children, do you?
What changes are going to make to make yourself happy or happier?
What small change can you start today that will count towards your goals in life?