You Don’t Have to Be Ashamed

We are all worthy of love and respect, and it is most definitely something we deserve to receive. We should be loved and cared for because of who we are, not despite our flaws. One thing I’ve began doing is simply not being ashamed of my mental illness. Instead, I embrace it. It is part of who I am and it will be for the rest of my life.

I want to remind people that it truly is okay to have a mental illness. It doesn’t make you any less of a person or any less deserving of love. I remind others with mental illness that they aren’t alone and I hope to serve as a beacon of hope. Despite our differences, we are fighters and we are worthy.

I used to be ashamed of my mental illness and wouldn’t tell people about it. At first I was diagnosed with cyclothymia, which is akin to a lesser bipolar disorder. I used to hide it from people because I didn’t want them to label me as crazy or unstable. Then I was diagnosed with bipolar one and I became even more ashamed.

See, the stigma and stereotypes that surround bipolar disorder made me feel even more crazy and filled with issues. AT least with cyclothymia, not many people knew what it was. They didn’t really think anything of it. With bipolar disorder, I would surely be labeled as a problem.

I hid my disability from job applications for fear of being rejected because of it. I kept it from my friends because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t worthy of their love and attention anymore. I kept it from my family because I didn’t want them to think they had done something wrong.

I finally found people who loved and accepted me even though I was bipolar. Some of them dealt with similar illnesses and struggled to talk about it for my same reasons. Some of the people I learned to trust would go as far as to research and look for ways to help me be more comfortable with them. I found people who loved me, for me.

Remember, your circle influences how you feel. If you’re surrounded by people you feel like you can’t be yourself around, then maybe its time to reevaluate your friendships and find the ones who truly care. Open up to them. If they leave, you didn’t need them anyways.

I’m always an email or DM away from anybody who needs a friend. I will always be there to make sure nobody feels alone around me. It’s about comforting people and making them feel welcome and accepted. That is what we, as human beings, should be doing for one another.

Published by Tyler Wittkofsky

Tyler Wittkofsky is a multi-genre author, blogger, award-winning marketing and communications professional, and fierce mental health advocate from the southern coast of North Carolina. Tyler has been writing short stories for as long as he can remember. Growing up the grandson of an English teacher, Tyler had a constant fuel to his creative fire in his grandmother. He started writing poetry in 2012 to cope with his mental health struggles with anxiety, bipolar, and depression. Using poetry as an escape, he developed a unique style of poetry that has left readers saying, “Tyler’s voice is compassionate, even while suffering, and I felt the despair and loneliness seeping out through his words.” His first poetry collection, composed of poems written from 2012 to 2016, was published in March 2020. He began his first novel in 2019. The novel, (Not) Alone, was a story based on true events surrounding the struggles of living with mental illness. Described by readers as “An Intimate Closure with Mental Illness,” this began Tyler’s revitalized passion for mental health. He decided that his writing would have a focus on mental health. His next novel, The Seeds of Love: Sunflower Kisses Book One, was his debut romance novel and debut series. Described as “a great job of relaying the realistic emotions of young love and emotional drama that is particularly difficult for young adults…”, his debut romance novel was met with much success. In 2021, Tyler began writing short stories. He was accepted into several anthologies in mid-2021, expected for publication in early 2022. He also writes supernatural horror and historical fantasy for the online magazines In the Pantheon and In the Crescent. He has work published through Five Minute Affairs as well. He built his website www.TeaButWithCoffee.com in 2021. On this site, he started his blogging journey. He began writing book reviews, interviewing indie authors, and writing on mental health. This passion sparked a new desire to connect with more people. Tyler is currently in the beginning stages of two podcasts that he hopes to be live by the end of 2021. Tyler currently lives in Leland, North Carolina with his wife, Grace, and dogs, Dutch and Belle. You can find him and his works here: https://linktr.ee/wittkofsky

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