“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

If you have a mental illness or an addiction, you are my people. I “get you” and I know that you will “get me.” You won’t discriminate against me. Or dehumanize me. Or ostracize me. You can’t. You wouldn’t. Because we are kindred spirits. And we are here to help one another.

You are beautiful. Especially on the inside. Which is the only place it really counts anyway, right? That’s a rhetorical question from someone who has been around the block enough to know the answer is yes.

You are beautiful because, having walked a mile in your shoes (when you weren’t paying attention), I know that we both understand the existential, soul-searing suffering of sustained mental anguish, the terror of living when your most important organ is dysfunctional, the agony of passing through the Dark Night of the Soul, the terrifying loneliness of isolation and much more.

You are beautiful because you are fluent in the languages of both profound suffering and unconditional love.

You are beautiful because you bear myriad physical scars inflicted by self-destructive acts and because your soul is so heavily scarred by the withering blows and deep lacerations of our cruel, merciless spiritual disease. Those scars scream character. And I love you for it.

You are beautiful because I know you have shouted at your demons with visceral, primal screams born of terror, rage, and agony.

You are beautiful because many of you were there to help me pick up the pieces of my shattered Bipolar life.

We are there for each other. What a comforting thought in a world that demonizes us, fears us, ostracizes us, shuns us, patronizes us, and worst of all, leaves many of us to fend for ourselves like feral animals on the streets. Or locks us away in nightmarish prisons where we are preyed upon, left untreated and suffering, and locked away in solitary where we deteriorate and die.

But despite all this, we have each other.

You are beautiful and I love you. May we meet one day. In this life, or the next.

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