To My Dearest Mentally Ill Brain: I Wouldn't Be Who I Am Without You

Bipolar, borderline, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety… call it what you want but this is my brain.

Some may hate their mentally ill brain, but I feel utterly different. My mentally ill brain and my life are in a codependent relationship. We fight at times and some days my brain is the most abusive partner I will ever encounter, but without it I wouldn’t be the intelligent, strong-willed, feisty woman I am today.

To help you understand a bit better, below you will find a letter to the codependent partner I live with every day, my mentally ill brain. Please keep in mind that everyone is different. Not everyone has the tools and privilege of functioning the way I do without medication and I am forever grateful that my mental illness doesn’t have a negative impact on my daily ability to function.

Dearest mentally ill brain,

I missed you. We have gone our separate ways on different occasions. The medications and medical restraints I’ve been flooded with have been successful at keeping us apart. During those times I was lost. I didn’t know who I was or what to do. I couldn’t function the way I was used to functioning without you.

When we aren’t together, it’s impossible to feel motivated to the level you allow me to reach, and I’m not nearly as eager to retain as much information or knowledge as I’d like to. I can’t get enough done in the day to fulfill the expectations I set forth to conquer when you aren’t here. My ideas aren’t as big and the impact I want to make on the world is just subpar, because I can’t see myself succeeding without some aspects of your life within me. I sleep, eat, feel and care just like most of the people on this earth, but it’s not enough for me.

When I forced you out of my life there were remnants of you laying in my dreams. I dreamt of us living where the colors were brighter, sounds were more vibrant, where feelings were of intense magnitude. You’d call for me to come back to you and then in an instant I’d wake up without you. You were gone and everyone was sure it was for the better.

But they don’t know you like I know you.


Being with you in my dreams wasn’t the same, so I decided to take you back with all your flaws. Didn’t you know I would grow tired of normalcy and living an average, boring life without you? Though you support my bad habits and try your hardest to kill me, I know from experience that in many ways I can’t live the life I want to live without you in it. You are my confidant, my intellect, my motivation, my passion, my everything. I know I can eventually get rid of you again with the right dose of pills, but you’ll never be out of reach or cut me off completely. I have a certain degree of power over you and you can say the same. After all, we will always be in a continuous battle because your positive effects on me are my drug of choice. You enable me, but always remember that I enable you. The only thing I ask in return for taking you back is to be good to those I love. We need to find a way to be together without having them take the brunt of it.

With love,
Your host and enabler

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Thinkstock photo via Olga Pavlova

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