I have been living with my Grandmother for three years now. She is someone who has been apart of my life since the day I was born. Someone who has always loved me. Someone who has always supported me in any way she could (emotionally, financially). Someone who has always been a phone call away. During a heated conversation we had yesterday I came face to face with the fact that she doesn’t know me. Let me repeat, we have been living in the same small townhouse for three years now, practically living on top of one another, and it is not the first time we have lived together. My current room (which I share with my boyfriend and dog AND a rabbit) is the same room my Mother and Father stayed in when they first brought me home from the hospital. I lived here again for a short while during elementary school. Flash forward to my last six months of my Senior year and I found myself living with my Grandmother again in a small apartment in Nevada City, Ca. She rented the apartment on a six month lease so that I could finish my high school experience with the friends and people I grew up with. Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time with my Grandmother throughout my life. She is very important to me. I thought she knew EVERYTHING there is to know about me. I thought she knew my heart. I discovered yesterday just how good I am and hiding my mental illness. I guess everyone has an eye-opening experience. I have read about them, heard about them. I think for myself, this was one of those situations for me. The extent of my mental illness will have to be explained in another blog post, or in a series of them. I don’t know. I don’t even know if ANYONE will be interested in what I have to say. But I have felt for quite a while now that I need to share my story. It may help at least one other person. And I need an outlet. Something to truly put my time and energy into. This already sounds so cliche, but it’s true. My story is a very long and very complex one, and I am only 22 years old. Living with my 67 year old Grandmother has had it’s challenging times, but I have always thought as a young couple in their 20’s, and living with an older person who happens to be family, all things considered, it has gone pretty smoothly. Apparently I was wrong. Two nights ago, I approached my Grandma, and tried to explain where I was coming from, I tried to explain myself. I was not in an angry mood, I was not overly emotional at the time. I considered myself to be pretty clear headed going into this conversation. I told her that it does not make me feel good in my heart when I am short with her. I restated the fact that as a person who deals with depression, anxiety, and mood swings, I have days where I would prefer not to speak to anyone else, let along answer a million and one questions. I told her that my boyfriend and I feel like most days it is a game of “21 questions” with her. Boy, was that the wrong thing to say. She acted completely shocked and as if I had said something crazy (because how could she ever stop for a moment and consider her actions?). Long story short, I hurt her feelings, and that was not my intent. The next day, as soon as I came home from work, she instantly went to her room and shut the door (something she NEVER does). I knew this had to be fixed. I sent her a text saying I wasn’t trying to be malicious, I would never want to hurt her feelings and that it didn’t need to be like this between us. She replied and asked to sit down the following day to speak to my boyfriend and I at the same time. I agreed. The next day, my 8:30-1pm shift could not be anymore dreadful. I had butterflies in my stomach as if I was about to perform in public and I considered every possible outcome the conversion could have. I thought she may ask us to leave, that was the worst outcome I could come up with in my mind. It was much worse. She said she had prepared a list of everything that we had done to bother her since we moved in. She called me things that honestly no one else in my life ever has (some of them being inconsiderate, ungrateful, rude, sloppy, messy, immature, you name it). Okay, I have been told that I am messy before, but the other things…..not so much. I tried to explain to her that I felt as though I have come a long way. I said the old me would have had her kick me out by this point because I would have exploded in a time when I couldn’t control my emotions. That’s when she shocked me. She asked, “What have you changed from 17 to now, because honestly this is the worst I have ever seen you, the worst you have ever acted.” This is when I realized she actually had never seen me at my worst. The weeks on end starting my Freshman year where I wouldn’t leave my bed, wouldn’t hang out with my friends even. The countless days of school I missed because I couldn’t get my anxiety under control. The countless medications I had been prescribed during my high school years. At one point, I was on six different medications. She wasn’t the one to find me covered in blood from cutting myself with a kitchen knife, because at the time, I thought that was my only choice. I had never asked her why I wanted to die, why that was even a thought in my mind. She wasn’t the one to drive me to endless counselor appointments, doctor appointments, and psychiatrist appointments. She had only seen me for three day visits, vacations, and the last 6 months of my Senior year all of which were happy times, times when it was easy to hide my downfalls from her. I thought she knew me, but there is so much about me that she doesn’t know. It was such a shock to me because I had never considered the fact that she didn’t know. How could she not? In my naive mind, she had to have known, through my parents, through my actions, magically, somehow! But she had no idea. I guess it’s not that simple. I am learning everyday that this life is weird, most of the time indescribable with words. Someone who has been such a HUGE part of my life, doesn’t know the most important things about me. My dark times, my struggles, my achievements, the mountains I have climbed. I have been saying for quite sometime that I need to be more vocal about my mental illness. I have always felt the need to help others, in any way I can. Well, now it is finally time. It is 1 am and this blog post will not be edited. I’m not a “writer”. I don’t consider myself especially smart. I don’t even know if anyone will read this, let alone get anything out of it. And even if the only thing I accomplish is letting the people who I already have formed a relationship with, know the real me, that’s okay. I have even heard some of my friends poke fun at how common “bloggers” are becoming. But if I know anything to be certain, there is no healing in hiding who you truly are. There are people very close to me who do not know my deepest struggles. It’s time to be honest, not only with myself, but with anyone who wishes to have a relationship with me. I am more than other’s views of me. I am me, and I am also more than my mental illness, but it needs to be talked about.