We were standing in the parking garage elevator. Freshman year of college had just begun, and I really was thriving. I became instant friends with some amazing girls in my dorm, pledged with the sorority I was hoping for, and classes were going great.
The garage where we parked for our dorm was attached the campus hospital and we ended up landing on the floor that had a bridge to the psychiatric unit. I immediately began clicking the button to close the doors several times. “That’s where the crazy people are,” I said condescendingly.
This was the very unit I would find myself living in less than a year later.
I guess you could say it’s ironic. Maybe humbling is a better word. All I know is that I was naïve to it, ignorant even. Bipolar I disorder runs in my family, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be diagnosed. I had it all together. I was normal. I wasn’t one of them.
I want to share that I too had a lack of understanding up until the time I was diagnosed. Even then, I didn’t necessarily understand it nor did I want to admit that I had a mental illness. However, my past misunderstanding and judgement has helped me to see the desperate need for an open door to discussion on the topic.
This is one of the reasons for Bright-Eyed. There’s so much confusion and shame surrounding mental illness, and only through support, resources and faith have I found a way to change my own perception.