There is no 31 days Mental Health Awareness month for me. I live with Manic Depression 365 days a year. There are no fancy, frou frou vacations, hefty bonus’, no benefits that come at the end of the year. Your family members do not get a staycation while in your company, they get who they get. Which part of me will take the lead, manic, mean, irritable, physically ill, depressed, anxiety ridden I can’t say. As much as I would like to spare them the uncomfortable that is my rapid cycling. So many friends have been lost, disappeared, dissolved, abandoned, unable to grasp the incessant, cruel velocity I live. It stings only a little now, I don’t have the luxury of wasted energy. I do wonder if I had cancer of the brain, instead of the mouth would I be treated different? If I was a betting man, I’d bet against me. The very real odds are I might not make it. Most days, every day if I’m 100% honest, I plan my exit strategy (verbal diarrhea is one of the ‘perks’ of my job). I never act on it, the comfort in knowing I have control over this one thing helps. It helps me get through the hard, challenging, excruciating days I am living. My brain does not stop, the top spinner that slows only enough so I get a glimpse of the who I was. She and I, at forever odds searching for a middle ground. The compromise we both can live with. When I set out to write a book, I did not believe I would finish. I am no GIRLBOSS, 10% Happier, John Greene author (although I wouldn’t mind). I may never make a bestseller list. But this book, my book, The Vast Landscape kept me alive. Hell yeah, I’d say that’s better than any Goddamn bestseller list, and yes I am wicked proud. My accomplishments are bigger, harder and higher than most. Every single day that I wake up, and choose LIFE is a day I beat the odds. Every damn day I wake, I’ve won.