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Being Vulnerable is Hard

I’ve been beating myself up lately as sometimes I just feel crazy. I give out my promotional bookmarks all the time, but I never know how they’ll be received - or better said: How disclosing a diagnosis of mental illness will be received.

It’s hard to be vulnerable. It really is. Allowing someone to know that pain and turmoil exist - even if I am healing and doing so much better, is hard to do. It’s revealing a very private part of my soul to a complete stranger and yet it’s the career path I’ve chosen to follow. Somewhere out there, someone feels alone, like life is not worth living; but I know that if I disclose my pain, it might help them feel a little less alone in theirs.

I wrote these lines this morning as I was journaling:

“I doubt myself so much

this confidence is work.

I’m not naturally extroverted,

I have to push myself.

Vulnerability is scary.

It’s hard to open up.

I light myself on fire

for those lost in the dark.

So they may see some brightness

gleaming up ahead.

I burn to give hope.

I burn so others live.

The fire will not harm me —

It is my spirit,

flesh, and blood.

Vulnerability and hope

bring light

into the dark.”

Later on today, a friend whom I had a falling out with during the 2020 psychosis, contacted me. I was in shock. I never thought I’d hear from her again.

It’s surprising how many good relationships I have, especially when I know the stigma surrounding the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. I’ve had extremely few falling outs in my life, and of those I’ve had, most have been repaired. Although the relationship(s) may not return to what they once were, we’re on good terms.

Despite having displayed symptoms of mental illness and addiction since I was young, most people are very kind towards me. I still have many solid friendships from both my teenage years and my early 20’s, which were amongst the hardest times of my life.

I realize a great deal of the stigma I face is my own internal dialogue. I can’t control how random strangers I give a bookmark to may react or perceive me, but this old friend contacting me today reminded me that I am cared for and thought about. That overall, I have good relations with the people in my life.

My Art and Advocacy business doesn’t have a massive following considering I’ve been doing this for almost 13 years, but I feel like the people who care, care a lot. Thank you for that.

Bookmark Front & Back (Above)


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