It is amazing that even with my numerous years of experience I am still able to down play my symptoms when I am between episodes. Perhaps this is a tendency which contributes to the number of people who have a mental illness who do not seek and sort of help. For example, in my last post I mentioned how the side effects of my new meds were making it hard for me to rationalize my use of them and that hypomania was preferable. Of course this weekend on a particularly symptom heavy day I thought, okay these side effects are better than experiencing this hypomania all time. In both cases I saw my past experience in a much greener light.
Considering when you have a cold and you suddenly realise just HOW NICE it is to be able to breath easy out of your nose, with mental illness when the going is good (between episodes) or particularly difficult in a one sided kind of way (side effects) one may down play the worst of things and think, 'it really wasnt so bad'. Some times it shocks me, especially considering how many times I have been suicidal, one would think I would be cognisant of just how bad it was!
Is this not about down playing one's experience, especially when it comes it is stigmatized? We need to give ourselves more credit for enduring they diagnosis and experience of mental illness. It is difficult; even if we justify this solely by the fact that often one of the most important diagnostic factors is whether or not symptoms disrupt ones daily life. So how do we do this? How do we give justice to our experiences? Generally I would think keeping a journal during those hard times to remind ourselves would be an effective strategy, but I would be afraid that may trigger an episode or at least make me very sad and potentially ashamed. Perhaps reminding myself how deserving I am of this recognition for my strengths by repeating a relevant mantra or saying would be sufficient?