As 2015 comes to a close, I sit here and reflect on everything that I achieved in the past year. Living with bipolar disorder and anxiety colors how I feel about those achievements, which wrote about earlier this month in a blog called “Bipolar Disorder and Stinking Thinking,” but I am aware that I had a lot of personal and professional success.

And I owe all of it to you. Literally you.

By reading this blog, you are helping me realize my dream of being a bipolar writer and speaker. If you share my writing, “friend” me on Facebook, or leave a comment, then you are super awesome and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

As a thank-you for all you have done for me, I wanted to write you a personal note that allows you, my friends, to have a glimpse into the real Gabe, with all the insecurities, depression, and anxiety on full display. Every time I write something, I ask you to trust me and it is only fair that I trust you.

Thank You from Bipolar Writer & Speaker Gabe Howard

Dear You:

Thank you for a great 2015! I’m honestly shocked that you would read a single thing I have written, because I often see it as garbage. See, there are real writers in the world and I’d strongly encourage you to read something they wrote.

I’m not a doctor, celebrity, or even a researcher. We live in a world with amazing people doing amazing things and, while I do try not to compare myself to them, I often do. And I always judge myself as a failure and them as a success.

I’m not the Gabe Howard you see online. I show you the strong, capable, and confident side of my personality. I then season that with some selfies, jokes, and lessons I learned along the way and viola: bipolar advocate, writer, and speaker Gabe Howard, internet version, is born!

The things I’ve been through haunt me. I cry at night at least once a week. I feel, more often than not, like a fraud and a failure. I’m filled with self-doubt, anger, and fear. I want to quit and hide in a cave and never, ever come out.

The urge to give up is so incredible that I’ve gotten used to it. I hate that I accept these feelings as just part of my life. I resent those around me who don’t. Other people’s joy frustrates me so much, not because they have it, but because I don’t. And envy is a terrible quality that never leads anywhere good.

Yet, with all of that inner conflict and turmoil, I’ve managed to find an incredible amount of happiness – actual joy – in your existence. I love that you are in the world because you make me happy. The fact that you exist gives me a purpose and it’s that purpose that lights my darkness.

I’ve given up on getting rid of the darkness that lives inside me. Instead, I am on a quest to find light. Lots and lots of light. You, my friend, are light. And for that, I’ll be forever thankful.

Happy New Year and be well,

Gabe Howard

This article originally appeared on PsychCentral as, “Behind the Bipolar Blog: The “Real” Gabe Howard.

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