It has been a year and three months since I started seeing a psychiatrist. It has been eight months since I started sharing my experiences in dealing with bipolar disorder here in my blog. And in those eight months, several friends have messaged me on Facebook--some to offer support, and some to ask about my experiences in seeking help.
I appreciate all of those. When friends message me to ask questions, I welcome them. If I were to be asked to describe dealing with mental illness, I would have to say that it is not a gray cloud with a silver lining. It is what it is: difficult, exhausting, and expensive. A psychiatrist's professional fee is a four-digit figure, and don't make me start talking about the cost of medicines prescribed. Sometimes, I ask myself: Are the means to help me get better also make me feel worse because of the high levels of anxiety brought about by the cost of these means? Yes, I've asked for financial assistance from one of my aunts, and I couldn't be more thankful. However, there's not a silver lining to see when you see the amount (or the absence of it) left in your bank account every month.
Will this make me stop taking my meds? No. I will (and I do) take my meds as prescribed. I often compare my current self with my pre-treatment self, and I see the difference. Maybe it's not a big difference, but still, it counts. I don't regret seeking treatment, even if I have to move mountains to be able to pay for everything.
Whenever friends message me on Facebook because they feel they have similar concerns, I can't help but ask the universe (quoting the song "Lost Stars"): "Are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?" Maybe we are. We are one another's candle. We perfectly understand each other because we are going through the same things ourselves. We may not find a silver lining, but we can always light a candle so we can make our way through the dark.