I’m happy to introduce my 4th guest blogger, Just Plain Ol’ Vic. Vic’s blog is one of my favorites. I’ve been following it almost from the very beginning of my blogging journey and have found it always inspiring and thoughtful. Vic has helped me through many of my own rough moments and is a regular commenter on this blog too. Be sure to stop by his blog!
This is from his About page:
Just Plain Ol’ Vic
Bio: Thanks for taking a look at my blog. I am Just Plain Ol’ Vic, however Vic will do just fine. I originally started this blog as a form of writing therapy. I am happily married, with kids but my wife suffers from bi-polar disorder, clinical depression, has an eating disorder and is a recovering alcoholic. Needless to say it is quite a bit for one individual to handle, thus my blog. I started this blog to connect with others that suffer from mental health issues and/or have loved ones that have mental health challenges. This is a way for me to connect, discuss and educate myself about my wife’s condition and perhaps in turn, allow me to be a better spouse. Perhaps too, in hearing my story, others will know that they are not alone and there is help, empathy and resources out there. My blog has since developed beyond just talking about mental health (although that is still a priority). I pretty much discuss what is on my mind or happening in my life. I am not afraid to spout verbal diarrhea, give unsubstantiated opinions and generally exercise my 1st Amendment rights. Along the way I hope to provoke some thoughts, get you interactive with my blog…perhaps even make you crack a smile and belly-laugh every now and then. So if by now you are still interested and willingly join me on my journey, thanks for coming along and don’t forget to buckle up! http://justplainolvic.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/tempting-fate-taking-a-leap-of-faith/
Here is his guest post, not really about himself, but about all the wonderful things he’s learned from living with his wife, who suffers from Bipolar disorder. Through their relationship, joys and struggles, Vic says he has developed a level of empathy and understanding for the mentally ill he might not have otherwise had. I thought his story was very touching and inspirational and I even got a little misty-eyed reading it.
YOU ARE EMPOWERED
By Plain Ol’ Vic (http://justplainolvic.com/ )
Hello there, my name is Vic and first of all I would like to thank Lauren for giving me this wonderful opportunity as a guest blogger. I don’t think my story makes me any more special than the next person, thus my moniker of “just plain ‘ol” seems very appropriate. I am just a guy, husband and father that is trying to make sense of his world and do right by my family. There are days that this is harder than it sounds; as my wife has bi-polar disorder, has attempted suicide, has had multiple hospitalizations, is a recovering alcoholic and recovering from an eating disorder. Guess what? She is and will always be a wonderful woman and I am lucky to be married to her.
Instead of telling my story and the trials and tribulations we have faced as a couple and family, instead I would like to talk about some of the positive things I have learned as I have become more educated and empathetic to the challenges my wife faces on a daily basis. As tough as the challenges have been, as daunting and insurmountable as the obstacles seem to be – we are still here, engaged in the moment and are as strong (perhaps stronger) than we ever were.
It is so easy, when someone suffers from a mental illness, to have it consume their lives and allow it to define who they are, how their perceive themselves and become the cornerstone of their existence. I am here to tell you that does not have to be the case! You ARE empowered to be who you CHOOSE to be, should EXPECT people to treat you the way you DESERVE to be treated and you should NEVER SETTLE for anything less.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
I know it is hard to look in the mirror and not “see” your mental illness. I challenge you to look beyond the physical and see your spirit within. See the inner beauty, the inner resilience and the inner fighter that you have become. “Normal” and “perfect” do not exist, they are made up abstractions. Who you are, your uniqueness is what makes you beautiful. If you can embrace that inner beauty, it is the first crucial step to learning to love yourself.
YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE AND AFFECTION
Having a mental illness does not make you “less deserving” than the next person. Despite the challenges you may face every day, you are deserving of a partner that will love you for who you are – not what they want you to be. While a relationship can and will be challenging at times, you can find someone that will accept and love you the way you are. The key to this is communication: being open and honest from the first moment. Making sure you have a partner that you can talk to, confide in and lean on is critical. No relationship is ever perfect but it can work for you as long as you are willing to work for it.
YOU ARE POWERFUL, STRONG & CAPABLE
Having a mental illness does not make you less of a person, less capable than someone that is “healthy.” Indeed you may actually be much stronger than a “healthy” individual because you have to endure so much more. Never doubt your ability to lead a full and productive life. You are capable of achieving whatever you set your mind to. Now I am not going to deny that it may be tough, that there may be setbacks – however you are powerful, strong and capable – you can take back your life. Your life and your contribution is just as important and relevant as anyone else, so shout your message from the rooftops and embrace all that makes you unique.
I would like to show you this video where I drew inspiration from for this post. Now I have made it clear that while I am not religious I am a spiritual individual, however despite that I cannot deny the power of this message. Please also understand that I think is message (and my message) is geared for both men and women. Take the time to listen to some of the words that are said and understand that this IS you or CAN be you If you so choose. There are so many things misunderstood when it comes to mental illness, so many stigmas out there. However if you empower yourself, share and communicate your story then you too can help other see what makes you so wonderful, so unique and so human.
I wish everyone the best. Be well. Take care of yourself and each other.
Just Plain ‘Ol Vic.