Throughout my nearly 35 years, I have been criticized, much of that came from me. When people put me down, I took that a step further. I have been known to be my worst enemy. (Though I think that is true for many.) People tell me to accept them as they are, but some try to change me. For so long, I have bent over backwards trying to please people. I have now realized I am tired of being so many things to so many people and not what I ought to be to myself. The truth is, even I have been guilty of trying to mold someone, even slightly to meet my needs and I know it’s been wrong of me. I think we’re all guilty of that, even when we say we accept those we love as they are, we often don’t…not fully.
Well I am going to work harder at truly accepting others as they are and this extends to myself as well. I am done trying to please everyone. People have tried to emotionally toughen me up over the years, constantly telling me I am too sensitive, emotionally needy, and that I need to grow a thicker skin. I often felt like I was viewed as too weak and those views became my own. I am henceforth done apologizing for “crying over spilled milk”, getting offended when people say or do something that hurt my feelings, being too mushy, and for being too emotionally needy. I am flawed in the eyes of many, even my own, but I know that I am a good person at heart. I may talk too much at times, have annoying habits, be more stubborn than a toddler who refuses to give up their favorite toy or take a nap, and so on. I can admit I am so far from perfect, but I have to say if you want me to accept you as you are, then I ask you do the same for me. Let us compromise, not who we are, but in how we treat one another and not because we have to, but because we want to.
When manic, sometimes I fly off the handle and later, feel bad about it. When I am truly wrong for how I have treated someone, I will go to them and apologize. I won’t apologize for who I am, but I will apologize when I am in the wrong. Sometimes I can be crass and insensitive, even though my very nature generally is quite sensitive. I suppose that’s a part of living with bi-polar disorder. My moods fluctuate on a whim and I can be quite unpredictable. Which me will you get this afternoon? Will she differ from the woman you saw this morning? I used to take medication to try to “fix” myself and have sought out therapy as well. The medications usually turned me into merely a reflection of who I am and/or they made me physically ill. Therapy did help, probably helped more than any other “treatment”. However, lack of insurance and/or money usually interrupted things. Over time, when I went without, I began to find other ways to deal with my Schizophrenia, A.D.H.D, O.C.D, and Bi-polar disorder. I found ways to not let it hinder me, but instead, it’s often nurtured my creativity. Yes, sometimes I lose control of myself, but usually I do just fine. I am done seeing myself as broken or needing to be fixed. It’s all a part of who I am. Some people truly need medication just to function, to be able to do their day to day tasks. I am not trying to say there isn’t a place for that, but I have been able to get to a point I can live a fairly normal life without any of it. I am proud of how far I have come. I am not who I want to be, but nor am I who I once was and I am happy about that.
I am usually known to be compassionate, giving, tender, the one to go to when you’re upset and need a friend, the one who will understand, the one who won’t judge, and the one who always has a smile ready. My disorders do not define me, my very core goes way deeper than any of that. Those who have taken the time to truly get to know me see I am more than any of that and that I am more than who I was. They see the potential of who I could become, but also love for who I am right now. We have our moments when we clash and yeah, wish one could be more or less one way or another. Like I said before, I really want to work on that. I love my friends and family for who they are. We all change a lot over the course of our lifetime and sometimes it’s because of how those around us have influenced us. I think in the end though, our changes should never simply be to please others. Our changes should happen not because we feel we have to do so, but because we want to. No matter where you are in the course of your growth, you should be unapologetically you and I will be unapologetically me.