When you hear the word pioneer, what images come to mind?
It brings to mind for me images of wagons pulled by oxen, of people pulling handcarts across the plains. I think of people rushing across the plains for the chance of finding gold. I think of people who didn’t speak the native language coming here in boats from Europe and beyond. I think of people who made that first scary move into the unknown on the chance that it would be better for them and their world.
Some modern pioneers come to mind as well. John Glenn, and Neil Armstrong among many. Those men touched the face of God and gave a nation something to believe in.
I also think of pioneers like Dr. Kay Jameson, who I have written about befor. She experiences the daily battles of manic depression, while being a credentialed psychiatrist and knowing EXACTLY what is happening in her brain. But guess what – she’s lived well. I think of Dr John Huber who is dedicating his career to ending the stigma associated with all mental illnesses.
So that brings me to the point of today’s blog. Am I a pioneer? Am I taking a first step into the unknown? It’s overwhelming to think of myself in the same breath as any pioneer. My therapist and I had a good conversation about it last week and she says that my efforts to fight this are pioneer like. I’m engaged in this fight and I’m determined not to stop. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever even thought to try and do, but it’s worth every step.
When I realize that there’s a 50% chance of bpd being passed down to my kids I’m encouraged to fight harder. To paraphrase someone much wiser than I – I study bipolar disorder and mental illness so that my children and my children’s children may study math and science and literature and life and love in spite of what may come.
I’m not sure if my children will have to deal with this, or if I’m “pioneering” directly for them. But I will gladly continue that first step into the darkness, with the hope that it will continue to lead to good and better things for me in my world.