Seeing myself in the Styles section.
I started to worry about being a spokesperson for mad pride specifically. I'm very open about having bipolar disorder. Everyone knows that. But am I proud to have it? Why should I be? Did I do something special to get it?
Pride is something I associate with accomplishment. I can type really fast. I'm bilingual. Am I proud to have asthma? No. Am I proud that I get migraine headaches? It's not like I've been practicing to perfect the act of lying on my bed in the dark.
The pride we feel should be in recovering from our mental illnesses and living fulfilling lives, and then having the courage to speak out. I'm proud to live honestly. I'm proud to struggle each day with an illness and win every battle against it. I'm proud to serve as a role model for others who haven't come as far on the journey. I'm proud that I've survived.
I hope that message will be marketable enough so that Liz Spikol will still be Liz Spikol for a while longer, because it's been kind of fun being a different person. But if not, that's okay too. Shania is really a stupid name.