Once upon a time a long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess that wasn’t actually a princess at all, but she was beautiful.
Every morning she spent hours preparing her look, trying to look as beautiful as she could. It had to be done. Her outer appearance was very important to her.
To begin her long daily process and ritual of creating the masterpiece illusion of her beauty, she took a shower and washed her hair every day without a thought or care in the world about it. It was just a part of the normal routine of her day. It had to happen and it did.
Next, she carefully and meticulously applied her make-up with fine artistry to enhance her beauty as much as possible. She admired her reflection in the mirror to make sure her external flaws were covered and she looked as beautiful as she could be.
She fixed her hair everyday to perfection without a hair out-of-place, each hair placed exactly wear it should be and then spraying enough hairspray in her hair that not even a hurricane could blow her hair out-of-place or mess it up.
Her nails were done everyday. Not one day could go by without her fingernails and toenails manicured and polished perfectly. That was not her style.
Everyday she wore nice clothes. She was a very natty dresser. She looked impeccable.
Looking beautiful, good and as perfectly flawless as she could was an important part of who she was or at least who she thought she was.
In her mind, she was always pre-occupied with what she looked like. Her thoughts were consumed with how good she hoped she looked and how good and beautiful she hoped others around her thought she looked.
She thought if people thought she was beautiful and liked how she looked on the outside, then they would like her. At least, she hoped they would like her.
Even though she spent a lot of time making herself look beautiful and as flawless as she could, she never thought she was beautiful. She had no self-esteem and in fact she disliked herself very much. She was not a happy person and was very sad on the inside.
She pretended for years to the outside world that she was happy and that she knew who she was and knew what she wanted in life. However, she knew nothing. She knew nothing at all and did not know who she was.
This young woman was a shell of a person with nothing of value or substance on the inside because all her goodness and beauty that was on the inside waiting to get out and break free was all hidden, blocked and overtaken by her sadness and pain and of her undiagnosed mental illness.
She wasted so many years of her life. She could have been so much more than she was. But, she felt like she was nothing and was a bad person, basically because she was told she was nothing by her parents nearly everyday of her childhood and life.
She felt nothing but sadness and pain. She wore a beautiful masquerade with her natty outfits, make up, her artificial smile and her beauty as her disguise.
If people saw how beautiful she was on the outside, then they could not see her severe internal pain and anxiety she lived with everyday of her life. Plus, her constantly thinking and worrying about her appearance was a good distraction for her to not feel and deal with her true pain of who she was.
Hiding behind her beauty was a safety mechanism for her so she would not have to face the painful truth and sadness of her life and childhood.
Plus, this young woman was a chameleon. She did not know who she really was, so she would become whoever anyone wanted her to become. She couldn’t be herself because she didn’t know who she was and she didn’t want people to know who she was and find out how deeply scarred, flawed and broken she truly was.
This beautiful young woman who seemed to have everything and her entire life ahead of her, lived her lives for others. She always tried to help other people and make other people happy and was also always seeking love and affection and attention from anyone, because she never received attention, care or love from her home or anyone for her entire life.. until she had three beautiful children of her own.
She had been emotionally and physically abused, so hiding behind her disguise of outer beauty was a masquerade to hide her pain and to never let anyone truly in to know who she really was.
Of course, that beautiful young woman I am writing about is me.
Speed forward about twenty years later and that brings me to who I am today.
I have been diagnosed with severe bipolar 1 disorder with mixed episodes and ultradian rapid cycling, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder and personality disorder.
After many years of struggling with my severe and debilitating mental illness symptoms and taking a variety of medications causing severe side effects and adverse reactions and receiving hundreds of ECTs, I have finally found life and love my life and I have learned who I am as a person.
Most importantly, I realized that my inner being, the inner me was who I needed to concentrate on and learn how to make beautiful.
I finally learned who I was and I began to love myself.
I know who I am now and I share who I am openly and honestly with everyone I meet.
I am no longer a chameleon.
I do not change to fit into my surroundings. I do not blend in.
I stand out.
I stand out loudly and proudly.
I am proud of what I have overcome and who I have become. I have finally learned to love myself for who I am and who God made me to be.
I have also learned why I was the way I was for so many years of my life. I have always had a mental illness my entire life starting because of the emotional and physical abuse and shaming I endured throughout my childhood and also because of my genetics with strong mental illness genes I inherited from both sides of my family.
Now, I finally know myself and have inner beauty.
Internal beauty is the only thing that can truly create your external beauty and appearance.
I have learned to be a natty dresser on the inside of my inner being, inside my heart and soul, letting my internal beauty shine out and radiate and sparkle out of me for the world to see.
Without out inner beauty there is no beauty at all.
I stand out.
I stand out proudly.
I stand out proudly for who I am.
I stand out proudly and loudly for who I am.
Proudly and loudly I am a bipolar survivor.
Proudly and loudly I am a mental illness survivor.
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