Personal Stories

It's Okay Not to Be Okay.

My name is Daphne. I am about to turn 40 and I have four children. I live with bipolar 1, PTSD and panic disorder with agoraphobia.  

I searched for help from the age of 18 and got none. No help from family and no help from doctors. I was either diagnosed incorrectly or was told there was nothing wrong for 14 years. During another visit with another doctor I was prescribed an antidepressant. This medicine sent me into a deadly spiral. Mania hit first and then the black hole of depression. This was the point that another doctor finally figured out I had bipolar disorder.  

However, he also diagnosed me with the incorrect type of bipolar. So, I found another psychiatrist who took the time to actually figure out what was wrong in the correct way and not off the top of his head as the other one had done. Bipolar 1 and panic disorder with agoraphobia. Eventually he also diagnosed me with PTSD.  

Through all of this--the tears and the helplessness, the days of not being sure that I even wanted to live anymore--I was raising my children and working. Through the horrible times of trying to find the correct medication and all the horrid side effects, my children watched it all. I had to keep pushing when I wanted to stop. All I could think about was if I stopped pushing, I couldn’t help my kids and they are my world and the reason I’m here today.

I’m medicated, but it doesn’t “fix” it. I see my psychiatrist every four months and we work together. I will have it no other way. Some days it feels like the medications don’t even work. 

I can’t work anymore. I can’t do a lot of things I used to. I have to work around that. One second, one minute, one day at a time. 

My children have grown. My eldest is 22. My daughter and stepdaughter are 18 and my youngest son is 14.

My daughter and youngest son live with depression and anxiety. It’s hard living with mental health conditions and even harder when your children are too. It breaks your heart into a million pieces to see them struggling and knowing how it feels. I kept on pushing and telling myself it’s okay not to be okay today or even tomorrow. Just keep on. I’m glad I did. If I hadn’t who would be there for my daughter and son now? Who would they run to? Who could say I understand? Who would sit with them now and say we will get through this together? Who would ask questions that would make sense to them and make them feel not so alone? Who would be nonjudgmental and just listen? Who would tell them it’s okay not to be okay? Who could they tell when it’s just too hard and they just want to stop? 

I had no one, but my children have me. It’s okay not to be okay is the phrase I say a lot to myself and to my children. When the days are dark and really bad for us, we turn on the lights for one another. Even if it’s just a small spark to get us through that one second or that one minute into the next day.


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