"I just want you to be happy." How many times have I heard that said in a well-meaning-yet-stinging way? It stings like rubbing alcohol on the open wound that is my mental illness. Yes, I want to be happy, too, but I don't just want to be happy. I want so much more than to be happy.
I want to thrive. I want to be able to feel a bigger spectrum of feelings than the dread and fear that I usually walk around with. I want my head and heart to work together to decide what the appropriate feelings are for the right moment, and really feel them.
I want to be present. I want to feel like I'm actually experiencing the activities I'm participating in and find joy or pain or pleasure in them; rather than feeling detached and removed, or stuck in my own head.
I want to feel sad. I want to feel sad sometimes without it throwing me in a tailspin. I want to be able to cry with people when they need someone to cry with instead of feeling numb.
I want to focus. I want to be able to concentrate on the present moment, and the task at hand, without getting distracted by intrusive thoughts that bring me down or make me feel anxious.
I want to feel safe. I want to feel safe in my own body and in this big wide world we live in. I don't want to listen to the thoughts telling me I'm safer in a cocoon, at home, hiding.
I want to be seen. I want to be visible to the world and be accepted, truly, for who I am...mental illness and all.
You want me to be happy. I hear you. I want me to be happy, too. But happiness isn't my end goal. Happiness isn't the measure of progress in this journey. The measure of progress is acceptance of myself; and the goal is to be able to thrive, be present, feel sad and happy, to focus, to feel safe, and simply be seen.