The Prompt: Remember

Do you remember what it means to be normal? To be healthy? To not just be a label?

I don’t think I do.

I don’t think I recall a time where I was stable, happy, just…me. I don’t think I can access those memories of a time before mental health intervention, before the labels started being tied to me like a ball and chain, before the weight of mental illness appeared on my shoulders.

And it’s kinda scary, to not remember those things. To not know if there was a time before mental illness. It means I have nothing to look back on to figure out if I’m getting better. I don’t know if I’m currently stable, and happy, and me, or if I’m climbing the ladder to hypomania. I’m as sure as I can be that I’m not. I’m sleeping fine, my eating is normal for me, I’m just…happy.

I spoke to my therapist about it. She said she doesn’t think I’m hypomanic. But I don’t remember a time where feeling happy, joyful and like myself didn’t equal hypomania.

I can only relive memories of partying too hard because I was so emotionally high, of spending money like it grew on trees, of no fear, of risky sexual encounters and poor relationship decisions. I only have those memories, and honestly, I’d rather not have them.

Is it wrong? Is it awful? Is it shocking that I am so questioning of my happiness? My new normality?

I am trying to just accept it, but in the back of my mind is that worry, that niggle, that this could just be another ‘episode.’ Yet another time in my life where I feel good but then, in the future, look back and see how awful things were, how poorly I was behaving.

I don’t think I am, behaving poorly that is. But it’s hard to believe that I am just healthy, just happy, just free, when I can’t remember a time before mental illness to compare to.

I did some shadow work the other day. I cried. Do you know why? Because I wrote “It’s OK to be healthy.” I cried trying to believe that that is true. Trying so hard to believe that I am healthy, and that it is safe and OK for me to be well.

How warped is that? How wrong that I have lived for so long in a world where I was defined by my mental illness. So defined by it that now I cannot let it go. I cannot find myself outside of those labels. I cannot believe that I am anything other than mentally ill.

But I was. There was a time before mental illness, whether I remember it or not. And now I know that there will be a time after mental illness too.




  1. tracey at Mummyshire

    Oh I can’t imagine all that doubt and uncertainty about happiness. Although I think we all sometimes question what is “normal” because we all have different degrees of normality. And you’ve been on an amazing journey, and having regularly read your blog I think you’re very strong and have a supportive network behind you. That’s invaluable! But the positive is that you are realising that things need to change, and you want them to change, and that change is happening. I like your last line: “…now I know that there will be a time after mental illness too.”
    Be strong, and remember you can do & be whatever you want.

  2. Louise

    That’s very moving and you sound very strong x

  3. Sara | mumturnedmom

    I think it’s very difficult to let go of things that have defined you, whether those things are positive or negative. But, the fact that you are realizing that you can seems like a huge step forward. I agree with Tracey’s comments and I’m sending lots of strength your way x Thank you so much for continuing to share your journey with #ThePrompt x

  4. Cheryl | TimeToCraft

    What a journey you are on. I read this and sensed hope. Your hope, which is positive. You are probably more aware than a lot of people. That is a very strong place to be in. #ThePrompt

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