Explaining to someone without a mental illness what it is like to have a diagnosed mental health disorder would be like a man trying to explain to a woman what it’s like to be a man and vice versa. One can express themselves from their own perspective, but will be perceived from a different point of view. I understand men as a woman. I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a man. My point is that it’s difficult to ever really know what it’s like to be mentally ill. I fear that people who have never experienced the symptoms and episodes that I’ve gone through just can’t possibly conceive what life is like because of their lack of ability to relate. My desire would be for people to understand that just as men and women can have compassion and understanding for their differences without judging, condemning or oppressing one another, so too can people who are mentally healthy with people who are not. I can inform people what symptoms I’ve displayed and how I have felt and how my behavior has been affected. I can tell stories, but my words will never fully be able to shed full light on what having an illness like Bipolar Disorder has been like to live with. I wish I could say that I don’t judge or condemn others ever, but I have, and I believe that it’s human nature to do so at times, but as I grow as a person, it gets easier to see that no one knows what it’s like to be another, understand why people make the choices they do, or have the feelings that they do. I strive to find ways that I am similar to others and have compassion. Having lived a full life so far, meeting many different people from all walks of life, from homeless drug addicts to multi- millionaires I have found that I can connect to almost anyone on some level and that’s what I want to look for. When I don’t understand or can’t relate I try to write that off as incomprehensible and irrelevant to our relationship. When I am judged or looked down on or mistreated because someone cannot understand me or approve of me often I also cannot understand or approve of that, so it causes separation, which is the opposite of what I want. I can not control others, so I have been attempting to practice radical acceptance and unconditional approval so that when I am mistreated, disapproved of, disliked, judged, criticized, etc., I don’t react in kind, I react with kindness, compassion, sympathy and respect.