April Mansilla

@aprilmansilla | contributor
Community Voices

Dear illness

<p>Dear illness</p>
Community Voices

I am more than a number

<p>I am more than a number</p>
4 people are talking about this
Community Voices

I am more than a number

<p>I am more than a number</p>
4 people are talking about this
Community Voices

I am more than a number

<p>I am more than a number</p>
4 people are talking about this
Community Voices
Community Voices

The Remains of Paradise

For 20 years since diagnosed, I have walked past an

ever-changing garden on my way to appointments, even winter didn’t suppress its

beauty. Its mysterious tender was meticulous in planning through every season

but yesterday it was gone. In its place; mashed soil and a path of winding dirt

where splendor used to grow.

The scent was gone, the scene was gone, my diagnosis of

bipolar very much in tack. Twenty years of growth, ripped out, gutted.

I looked around, others must know what is missing? But

people walked by unaware, too young or too busy to remember. There have been

better gardens bigger, brighter, yet this one regardless what was in my mind I

always paused before it. This one held significance, memories of my illness and

the beauty found while trying to weed and conquer it.

I’ve made this walk most times in solitude but once many

years ago I walked the path, my daughters small hand in mine, unaware her

mother had to tend to her failing mind. I pointed to the full blooms as she

skipped and sang along joyously beside me.

That day, sitting in the office she sat at a table colouring

as the session progressed and my eyes filled with tears.

“When will I know?” as I looked over at her .

“Know what?” he replied .

“If she is me”

He leans back and tells me the odds.

If there is one thing that could break my heart is knowing I

was capable of passing on such a cruel illness.

I continued living for her, for my family and I was truly

happy for moments, moments I forgot the illness existed and welcomed another

child.

The years continued, and my garden grew out of control,

tangled, I became distant and thought the best way of them not turning into me

is not existing.

That little carefree girl in 2009 gave me all the love I had

given her. With only the help of her father, she became a caretaker to me and her

brother. Today, I see the effects, but she still grew wildly beautiful. I could

write the endless things she did and still does out of love, but it would be

too many to list. She and those I hold dear proved love wasn’t a word but an

action.

Since the chaos,

breakdown, I was shown compassion, forgiveness for and illness the ones I hold

dear know I didn’t choose. I am beyond grateful for the fresh start, living to

see how my daughter is as a mother and the strong beautiful girl being raised

in her light.

I cannot get back the past, it is gone, its lived its life

now I must live mine.

Sometimes things must me ripped out to begin again properly.

I must believe this because I have lived gutted, barren and survived.

On solid ground I build my Paradise of belonging with hope,

fortitude, and gratitude with those I adore.

Community Voices

Show the world you are more than your illness

I arrived at the mental institution in style, dress clothes,

stoplight red lipstick, heavy eye makeup and wild curls in every direction. I

was in a dangerous bipolar mixed state, swinging from manic high to suicidal

and a little-added #Psychosis.

The Doctor came into the secure room and asked,

“April do you believe you are magic?”

“Yes! “as I smiled wide, put my fingers out to the sides and

wiggled them.

Well, who knew magic could cause so much trouble; that was

the first time I was hospitalized and guess what Ladies and gentlemen, I found

out damn quickly I was not magic. Locked away high above the city, I couldn’t

Houdini myself out of the glass box ward that took my breath away, my family,

my job and my freedom.

In the ward and on a new medication, I pressed on the large

glass window that looked over the city; barren face to the coolness as my hands

trembled. I looked down at the beautiful living city, the snow falling so

perfectly, on solid ground, a place I wanted to be.

It has been 8 years since my first hospitalization and since

then I’ve had many trials and errors, different medication, therapy and ECT. While

those treatments were crucial in my survival and still are, I believe the

biggest change happened when I accepted myself and acknowledged I was capable

of more.

In 2015, I wanted to see and feel the real magic; living.  I knew I had to start or this illness would

continue to take over my entire life.

I started by making goals achievable. At first, I made huge

goals while housed in a hospital room, it’s only natural to dream big when

feeling so small, but by not meeting huge goals, I was sabotaging my health and

wellness. I began by doing what I could, showering, getting up on hard days,

going for a walk anything that would get me up out of bed. Then one day I

realized getting up wasn’t as difficult and I was beginning to strive.

It’s important for you to know as your battling, I did

stumble and still have setbacks, where my brain and heart say, “oh no not

today” and instead of being hard on myself, I try again and find that

strength within because giving up is not an option for any of us.

Finally came my most

important change, I started to see myself as more than my illness.

Who was I without my ailments? Who was I besides a patient?

I had identified myself as a bipolar, depressed, suicidal mental patient for years,

but it was time to see myself as more. I had a calendar of appointments for my

#MentalHealth, so I began to make appointments to find myself again. I went for

coffee, I read, I walked with my face in the sun, I walked in the snow, I

wrote, I painted. I realized the illness wasn’t a choice but what I made of

myself was.

I began accomplishing things that were once important to me.

Last week before I entered the same hospital that treated my

and I now teach art to others sharing my battle, I paused,  watched the snow fall perfectly, with my eyes

full of wonderment and a red lipstick smile, I made a promise .I promised I

would live with purpose, I would get up and shower on hard days, buy a coffee for

someone who needs it (including me), Say a kind word to a stranger or a friend,

I would keep painting and writing and proudly stand with my head up on the

center stage of my life because after all, I fought to be here as have you.

Now, this is important and anytime I falter I do this. I

want you to place your hand on your chest do you feel that beat? That proves you

are living, even if you don’t feel that you are. That is Your life, to change,

mend, to strive to do something powerful. If you have kept yourself going after

all you’ve been through, how are you not amazing, beautiful and powerful?  This, my companions in the battle to overcome is

the true magic of life, that of us enduring and coming out with an unbelievable

strength.

Here’s to your journey to wellness, now go take your place

on the enchanting stage of life and show the world what you are made of.

Community Voices
Community Voices

Invisible illnesses , Visable Warriors

Oh, my dear ones,
When you look down
Find something to look at
Even when raindrops form in your eyes and make puddles
Splash in them triumphantly because you are alive!
Oh, I know the wars you faught
I look down too
Somedays I can’t bare to look the world in the eyes
Today I look down
to the kind shoes I had as a teen
When illness had not reached my bones
And I smile
Sticks, stones and names didn’t break me
I didn’t break me….
And I look up
Willing, able to fight for my life
Because I belong here
As do you
Oh, my dear warriors
Even when you look down know you are on solid ground
Pushing forward
Conquering your battles one step at a time .

#MightyPoets

2 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Invisible illnesses , Visable Warriors

Oh, my dear ones,
When you look down
Find something to look at
Even when raindrops form in your eyes and make puddles
Splash in them triumphantly because you are alive!
Oh, I know the wars you faught
I look down too
Somedays I can’t bare to look the world in the eyes
Today I look down
to the kind shoes I had as a teen
When illness had not reached my bones
And I smile
Sticks, stones and names didn’t break me
I didn’t break me….
And I look up
Willing, able to fight for my life
Because I belong here
As do you
Oh, my dear warriors
Even when you look down know you are on solid ground
Pushing forward
Conquering your battles one step at a time .

#MightyPoets

2 people are talking about this