Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Post of Thanks

This morning, the four of us made our way into Baltimore for the NAMI walk. (NAMI stands for the National Alliance on Mental Illness). We walked with many others around the Inner Harbor to support mental health.

While I was walking, I first thought that maybe it would have been nicer if we had gotten a group to walk with us. Many walkers had t-shirts that affiliated them with their respective family, group, or county.

Then the nostalgia bug bit me. Well, perhaps not the nostalgia bug. But the bug that makes you feel so good that you're not even tempted to shove your brother into the harbor to swim with the ducks. Even though everyone was walking to support mental health in the state of Maryland, my family was walking to support me. Let the record show that teenagers can be humbled.

My family has been through a lot in the past few years. A hospitalization and a half, crippling depression, frustrating mania, waiting for medication to work, changing medications, and much more.

My mental illness has pushed my parents and my brother to become people they might not have otherwise been. They had to learn about my condition and the coping mechanism to deal with their newfound understanding. When I heard my mom say the word "cutting" out loud for the first time, I was struck with such a feeling of guilt and embarrassment. My sweet, loving mom should not even know that that kind of behavior exists. But she learned about it, and she hid things when she had to, and she made our home safe for me.

I am thankful for my family, and I am thankful for the support they continue to give even when I am too unwell to understand or appreciate it.

I am also thankful for my extended family. My Nanna, aunts, uncles, and cousins who read my blog and talk to me about what I'm going through. Uncle Tim, thank you for the happy texts. They pick me up throughout my day. Nanna, thank you for giving me strength. Becky, thank you for being my optimistic little cousin who understands my mood swings as best you can. Danielle and Sierra, thank you for giving your dorky younger cousin some of your time.


Then there's a completely separate category for my boyfriend, Chris. When I needed him, he assumed the role of additional caregiver. He did more than I ever could have asked of him. I am fairly certain that things can only get better from here, as my mood stability improves each day. Chris, thank you for sharing this very scary adventure with me. I love you.


To my second family, the Dessanti family: grazie. Vi amo. I have enjoyed your international support for many years. Thank you for always providing unconditional friendship and advice.

My local friends. This is tricky because sometimes (read: often) I feel like I don't have many friends. But I want to recognize you as good, strong people that are capable of lifting my spirits. If you still talk to me since I started my different school schedule, there is a 100% chance that you are a wonderful person and that I'm thankful for your influence in my life. Norah, I couldn't get through FOT without you. Eric, your political texts are perfect. Jon, thank you for catching up with me when you get the chance. Olivia, thank you for keeping me sane at Kumon, French class, the bus, and prom night. Especially prom night. Dillon, Danny, Evan, Keith: you guys are great for games, laughs, and even serious time. :)

(Wow, I have enough friends. Sometimes I should just shut up and enjoy the people who are in my life)

To my friends located elsewhere, the distance does not weaken my appreciation of your support. Barbara Franklin, I love you so much, and I always notice your support of my blog! You were an excellent Girl Scout leader, and now you are an excellent friend. Malia, I still get sentimental thinking about our KingKong email. I love you, and I'm glad we still keep in touch. Zach, I'm sad we've grown apart over the years. I know it's mostly my fault. I miss you.

To all of the readers of my blog: sometimes just seeing that dumb hit counter go up keeps me going. Thank you for commenting, emailing me, or even just reading.

I know this was kind of a selfish blog post. Regular content will resume tomorrow, but today, I'm just feeling thankful.