Last night I met a man I’ll call Bob.  Bob and I were both at a political/social meeting and got to talking about mental illness.

It turns out that Bob, who’s about 60, grew up painfully shy.  The kind of shy that attracts bullies and attract them he did.  He grew up, avoiding social situations, avoiding being trapped anywhere, and having few friends.

But, about 10 years ago the local hospital was running a research study about Social Anxiety.  Bob read the symptoms and had a eureka moment.  All of those symptoms described him to a T.

This is where Bob got brave.  He made the phone call.  He joined the study.  He learned that he’s had, all his life, a severe social anxiety disorder.  He got medication.  He took it and he began to take in the world in a completely new way.

Don’t get me wrong.  Bob isn’t cured.  He’ll never be cured, just as I’ll never be cured from my bipolar.  But, Bob took a step that has helped him live life a little fuller.  Prior to the study, he never would have shown up last night.  But, he did.  And he enjoyed himself.

There are a lot of ways to be brave with a mental illness.  Just accepting the fact that you have one is brave.  You don’t have to like it, just accept it.

Taking your medication is brave.  You’re trying to get to a point where you feel better.

Sometimes, just getting out of bed in the morning is brave.

Be brave today.  In any way.

Peace & Love

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