I won't argue, but I can't agree that having bipolar is a great thing. I wish I didn't have bipolar type 1; I'm very tired of the ups and downs that sometimes occur even on stabilizing medication. I wish my good friend, who died from this same diagnosis 11 years ago today (9/4/03), had never met it. I won't give it to anyone else either, so I won't have kids. But to each their own. Stigma is wrong, I will agree there. I am a lot more than the disorder, my life is not all about bipolar. But sometimes having it really sucks. At least for me. It's a spectrum disorder and not everyone has the exact same symptoms or illness with the same diagnosis label.
I enjoyed reading your post though.
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Lisa. thank you for the reminder that bipolar doesn't have to carry the stigma that it does to most people. Mental illness or no being bipolar is not the end of the world. It can be a positive force for good. Learning to cope with it successfully is key. Thank you for your thoughts. Take care and God bless, Deb
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance - Samuel Johnson
I am thankful for being Bipolar. So many people consider 'mental illness' to be bad, but I do not. Bipolar is not good or bad. It just is.
Because I am Bipolar I am more empathetic and sympathetic. I have so much forgiveness and love in my heart.
The only regret I have about Bipolar is the way 'normal' people perceive it. The Media has done such a disservice to me and my gift of Bipolar. That's right! I consider Bipolar a gift. It is not an illness or a disorder. I am gifted.
One of my goals in life is to break the stigma that goes with mental illness. Bipolar is where I will start because it is what is dear to me. I even want to change the term 'mental illness'. We do not say of a diabetic that they are physically ill. That phrase invokes thoughts of vomiting in the same way mental illness invokes thoughts of a crazed madman with an AK-47.
I will not lie and tell you that Bipolar is glamorous. It most certainly is not. Days, weeks and months of a depression that manifests itself in thoughts of suicide or death is not a way of life I would wish upon anyone.
Even the manias are not always happy and high. Sometimes the manias are filled with such angry thoughts like my fingernails in the scalp of another freeway driver. An anger that has never come to full reality for me, fortunately.
I will tell you that I am not what the media has made me out to be. I have never owned a gun. In fact, I am anti-gun. Therefore I doubt very seriously that I will ever shoot up a classroom of children. I did not become a stalker when my love was rejected. I was just a jilted lover. I have never abused my spouse or children. I do not even raise my voice in anger usually.
I have been medicated for the better part of 20 years. I do not walk around like a Zombie. My eyes aren't glazed over. I do not drool on myself. Medication levels out my moods so I do not get TOO high or low. I am not on mood stabilizers or anti-psychotics. I take an anti-depressant.
I do feel other people. I can read people like a book. I do not make judgments. I KNOW things about people by their mannerisms. By their stance. By their way. I can tell you more about a person by watching them for 2 minutes than another person could tell you after talking to them for twenty.
People are open to me. My friends and family say I have never met a stranger. I will talk to anyone and everyone from the first second I see them. I am not afraid of anyone. You probably can not tell me the color of homeless man's eyes. I can tell you his name and where he is from.
Please do not dismiss a person because they are mentally ill. The truth is the only way that you will know that I am Bipolar is because I will tell you. I have been told I do not LOOK mentally ill. I still am not sure if I should have said thank you. Was that a compliment? OR an insult. It does not matter.
I know who I am. I am a friend, spouse, lover, mother and daughter. I like who I am. You will like me, too, if you can get past the fact that I am mentally ill.
You never have to guess how I feel about something. My family says I wear my feelings on my sleeve. The truth is I do not try to hide my feelings. I do not want to either. I think everyone would be better for sharing who they are, how they feel and what they want... honestly and openly for every reason.
I tell my friends, family and people who are important to me I love them often. I tell my son and his dad every day. Usually several times a day. I have said I love you to my Dr's nurse. I think if you feel or believe something you should make it known. Nobody has ever been offended by being loved.
I have been told I am too honest. Is that even possible? I don't believe it is. Honesty and humor are the ways I intend to break the stigma of Bipolar. If you are honest in all things you never have to worry about remembering who you told what to because it is always the same. Humor makes everything better.
Laughter can heal all wounds. Sometimes even ill humor makes it better.
I hope that what you take away from this is that 'The Mentally Ill' are not bad or good. I also hope that if you have a mental illness that you do not hide in the shadows. The only way we are going to break the stigma is to bring it out into the light so we can see and learn from it. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or to hide!
I am not ashamed of being Bipolar. In fact, I am LOUD and PROUD! I am Bipolar, but it's not all of who I am. It's part of me. I am so much more.
I am thankful that I am Gifted with this thing we call Bipolar.
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