Dear Dad: A Letter From Your Daughter With Bipolar
The first man who had his heart broken by me was my father. One day the little girl who danced to the beat of her drum was laying in a hospital bed, withering away. My father has always kept me safe, but there was one person he could not shield me from, and that person was me.
I was walking through a dark tunnel, no light to be seen. All I could hear were the echoes of my own voice. In the moment that I wanted to stop, to give up on finding the light, I felt the strength and confidence you had instilled in me over the years, prior to this moment. You were unable to guide me to the light, but you gave me the tools to find it on my own. You gave me the knowledge, the power and confidence to overcome this obstacle. As I walked into the light again, you were standing there filled with pride, “I never doubted you.”
I decided to write a post in the form of a letter to you to share with my friends, family & followers. A novel would not be enough room to share with the people around me the impact you have had on my life. Your strength helped me get off the ground, your confidence gave me hope when I felt like there was none, and your heart is what saved me in the end. You did not know you were giving me these tools which is why I am excited to write this post.
I Will Always Remember,
…you sitting on the sidelines, applauding and gleaming at my success as an athlete, a student with hope in your eyes for my future.
…you sitting at my bed side a few years later, holding my hand at my weakest, unaware of what was happening to me internally.
…you driving five hours to visit me at the mental hospital just to see me for a short 30 minutes.
…the proud look on your face, sitting in the crowd of over 1,000 people waiting to see me graduate from College.
I will remember these moments because your support for me never changed regardless of the situation. On the sidelines applauding, or beside me when I was too weak to speak, you have never looked at me differently.
Thank You Dad,
…for putting your family first.
….for working hard to give your children the best opportunities.
…for working to understand my diagnosis, even though you may never fully get it.
…for never doubting my ability to succeed almost to a fault.
…for believing in me, when I didn’t believe in myself.
…for never giving up on me.
…for embracing the wild child in me.
…for allowing me to share the details of my life without judgment.
…for making me feel beautiful when my reflection told me otherwise.
…for finding me when I was lost.
…for loving me when I couldnt love myself.
….but most importantly for giving me the tools to save myself.
As a mental health advocate many daughters don’t have the support of their father. Many fathers toss their daughter to the side when they dare to be different. Many fathers are absent from their daughters lives. Thank you for being the father not many can be.
I used to think love could only be observed in the best moments of our lives, but I was wrong. A fathers love for his daughter is truly shown in the worse moments. It’s not in the moments you are winning, but in the moments you are losing. A fathers love is endless
I love you always Dad.
To the he fathers who have a daughters living with a mental illness: They are capable, and you are capable of teaching them how to find the light again. It is not about you understanding the way in which their mind and emotions work; it’s about supporting them. It may not be the journey you planned to see them on, but it was the journey she was meant for. Give her the tools and resources that will allow her to live an authentic life. There is nothing more powerful than a fathers love for his daughter.