Submitted Date 12/20/2018

Good afternoon. Today I have decided to talk about another topic that is personal and dear to my heart. Hidden illnesses. Those that we all suffer, but only a few truly know we suffer. Mine is bi-polar. I was diagnosed about 10 years ago, however, have suffered the effects of this illness for far longer. For those who do not know, this illness causes a chemical imbalance in my brain. Basically, I feel like I am on a roller coaster with changing emotions from day to day or even hour to hour. To look at me no one would know that inside my head, I struggle daily. I have very good days, and then very bad ones. Certain things trigger my changes, and I am beginning to understand these triggers. Kind of. Anyone who has read my writing will see a difference. Some days are dark and sad, others are happy and inspiring. The face I show the world though, is normally inspirational and positive. I do not want my illness to affect the lives of those around me. I do not want my loved ones to suffer the unknown I live inside my head. While this is a lonely world that leaves me feeling like I am alone in a room full of people, I have my writing. This is my comfort zone. My safe haven so to speak. When I write, I can just be me. Whatever I am feeling, I can write, without being judged.

So, my hope is that while we are all celebrating this holiday season, we will keep in mind those who are secretly suffering. The ones you know about and the ones who may have it hidden so well, they are not even aware yet. Many suffer in silence, like I do because they do not want others to feel sorry for them or be adversely affected. Just be kind to everyone you meet. You do not know what that person sitting next to you on the subway or standing behind you in line may be suffering.

Have a wonderful holiday season. And remember to inspire others so you too may be inspired.

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  • Andrea Hope 4 years, 7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. This is so simple, yet so easy to forget - that other people have silent struggles. I wondered if you have experience with online support groups? I know it's not the same at all but someone added me to a group on Facebook when I became a new mom, and even times when I don't interact as much, it just feels so nice to read their stories - challenges and triumphs, and feel a sense of community.

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 7 months ago

      Andrea, thank you for your words. I have limited experience with online support groups. I have recently become part of a group on Twitter (by accident I might add) that has many writers as well as mental health members. I find that reading their posts helps me a lot. They understand and can relate to many of the struggles I face as a creative thinker and someone with bipolar. I will have to check into groups on Facebook. Thank you for your advice and support. Have a wonderfully fantastic weekend.

  • Tomas Chough 4 years, 7 months ago

    ou do not know what that person sitting next to you on the subway or standing behind you in line may be suffering.
    So true. Thanks for sharing you story Mary. This was very inspiring and I hope that as time goes by you continue to struggle less and less. I wish you the best!

  • David Ross Washington Jr 4 years, 7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. It's definitely open up about this, and I know it must be hard to deal with. However, I am happy that you found an avenue to channel that injury into to cope with it, and that is writing for you. I'm so you have inspired someone out there, some who cope bi-polar, and others that cope with other hidden illness. I definitely feel Andrea offered some good advice on ways to help as well.

  • Rick Doble 4 years, 6 months ago

    I believe everyone has an epic story to tell. If not an illness such as yours, an obligation such as caring for an alcoholic parent or dealing with bullies at school. I like that your writing helps, as I think creative works are the best therapy.

    • Mary Jaimes-Serrano 4 years, 6 months ago

      Thank you, Rick. I agree with you. I am glad you enjoyed it and thank you for your support. I hope others find it helpful.