Francine Bargagna Mental Health Hero
he very first time I heard a psychiatrist diagnose me with Bi-polar it was as if he stamped a big red DEFECTIVE mark on my forehead for the whole world to see. I wore that label awkwardly and shamefully for 25 yrs. The strange part was that my family and friends never saw me as “defective” and didn’t treat me like I was any different from anyone else. But I did. I thought I was broken, no good, & bad. Feeling that way about myself said a lot about where my future was headed.
This past year I lost my vehicle which in turn made me lose a job that I loved. My 17 yr. marriage ended, I was homeless for some time & I lost my mother. I had a big decision to make: Should I carry this burden for the rest of my life and kill what’s left of my spirit or get rid of the label forever by living my life? I chose life.
One month after my mother’s death, I started college & currently have a few short months to go until I graduate. Has it been easy? No way! Believe me, it is confusing for me to concentrate when my mind is all over the place and being a perfectionist does not benefit me whatsoever. For me fear, terror, anxiety, or however you’d like to say it always prevented me from achieving my goals so I’d push my dreams aside & stay frozen with fear and hopelessness. Now I feel the fear and do it anyway. Has it been a life changing, scary, & yet exhilarating experience? You bet! Would I go through the pain, agony, & resistance again? Yes! There’s always breakdown before breakthrough and living life is definitely worth it.