• Rachael Ann

choose to keep living, dear queens

My ex-psychiatrist told me that I could not longer travel because it risked triggering a manic or depressive episode. I kindly thanked him for his service and told him that if he took away travel he would take away my profession and he would rob me of my sense of existence as a human.

I have had the privilege to create a career across two continents and across more than 15 countries and it is a privilege that I do not take lightly. I will sacrifice almost anything to protect this career of mine, because as I said, it is not just my career, it is my identity.

I cannot count the number of times I have been criticized by my family and friends for choosing my career over my health or over them. I cannot handle another lecture about work life balance. I chose the career I chose because it is me and I am it. My heart and soul and blood and every part of me was made to do this exact thing with my life. And this exact thing requires living in a million different places and hopping planes and busses and riding on the back of pick up trucks into the most beautiful mountains you can imagine, etc etc etc...

So I found a new psychiatrist and she coaches me and medicates me so I can reduce risks with traveling while still be my true traveling self. I am still constantly questioned by people about whether or not it is a good idea to live outside of my home country given the medical condition that I have - and granted - in countries where there are ZERO psychiatrists and almost ZERO medications that is/was a bad idea. But I repeat. If you take away my calling, my life, my career, my profession, my passion, my multi-country life-style -- you take away me and I no longer want to be alive if I am not me.

Call me crazy (OH WAIT, everyone already does!!), but that is who I am and how I am. I have come to terms with it and I have made it clear that if you want to be a part of my life you need to come to terms with my decision too - because it is exactly that - my decision.

I have been suicidal on numerous occasions in life. That is why my queen has a crown with a semi-colon. The semi-colon comes from Project SemiColon, an amazing movement celebrating the choice people make to put a semi-colon instead of a period at the end of the sentence, making a pause and keep life going instead of choosing to end their life.

So many times it might have been easier to peacefully slip away instead facing another day with depression that eats me from the inside out. So many times the nasty voices inside my head and heart telling me how ugly and stupid and how much of a failure I am pushed away any clear thoughts of reality. So many times when it seemed unbearable to face another day of life on this planet that is so broken and seemingly hopeless.

But instead of stopping, I paused, and I kept living.

The idea of living a life of being someone other than me is harder to imagine than not living at all. And I have thought about not living so many times, so I think I am qualified to give an opinion on this one. So when a psychiatrist or a stranger or a friend suggests I stop being me by somehow making more responsible decisions with my life, I politely decline to take their advice and ensure they do not have much influence in my life.

The struggle is real however. Every time someone tries to shut me up. Every time someone tries to get me to fit in. Every time someone shushes me and tries to get me to be a quiet polite little girl that I can never be. Every time someone tells me to get a more professional haircut. Travel less. Exercise more. Live in the USA. Wear different close. Be less opinionated. Every time they try to make me be less me, it makes me want to be less alive.

So every day I must be absolutely vigilant that NOBODY and NOTHING makes me feel

that I am not being my true self

that I am not expressing my mind and my soul

that I am not living life to the fullest in whatever way that means to ME

Staying alive, in my case, is not a matter of being in the country with the best medical care. It is a matter of being vigilant to BEING ALIVE. FEELING. LIVING. LOVING the life that I have created. EXISTING as the person I TRULY AM.

Despite the fact that the voices in my head may tell me to end the sentence and the societal expectations may guide me to be a lesser version of myself, I choose to keep living and I choose to live as the queen of the world. I hope you can find a way to do so too.

#living #bipolar #suicide #travel #queen



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