I’m sorry I lost touch. I’m sorry I didn’t call, didn’t write, didn’t reach out, pushed you away, let connections fail. Sometimes I get paranoid. Worried. Anxious. Do you hold it against me? All the things I did, didn’t do, said, didn’t say, when I was sick.

I’m sorry I wasn’t honest. With you, and with myself. I’m sorry I kept secrets. I carried them so deep into a cave, rolled a boulder in front of the entrance, and let the ceiling collapse. Did I push you away? Did I scare you? Are you still holding it against me?

I’m better now. Managing. Coping. Being mindful of my thoughts, actions, and emotions. I love who I am. I love those that reached out, I love those who didn’t. I worry. I get anxious. I get paranoid. I still have bad days, but I surround myself with light that drowns out the darkness.

Living with a mental illness can feel isolating. It can be difficult to reach out when I’m struggling, and embarrassing to reach out when I’m not. But I am so grateful just to be here, and for the journey life has given me.

If you think this is about you, it is. The friends, lovers, relatives, classmates, and teammates. Those who cared for me when I didn’t care for myself. I’m sorry you didn’t know, and I’m sorry you did.

Thank you.

Rose Muise is a mental health advocate, passionate about starting conversation about mental health in order to help others. Often pulling from her own experience of living with bipolar disorder, her personal recounts touch many people and open their eyes to what living with mental illness is like and how individuals can understand their own loved ones. With her constant charm and kind-hearted demeanor, Rose brings a light-heartedness to all discussions, bringing people together.