I was sitting in a hospital room almost 15 years when I received my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. This particular time was a voluntary “commitment”. Oh that’s a strange word in this scenario. The dictionary defines commitment as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. Well, I suppose after 3 or 4 involuntary “commitments”, you could say I was dedicated to this particular cause,activity,etc. What else would you call it “voluntary lock-up”? That’s really what it is, but then that implies the person has perpetrated a crime and is in jail. So that won’t work. It feels a bit like a prison. You can’t go anywhere. All of your rights are taken away while you’re there. Your every move is monitored. How about “voluntary time out”? That really doesn’t either…sounds a bit childish.
In this 15 years, I have learned a tremendous amount. I still have a lot to learn. Once the unknown had a name, it suddenly didn’t seem quite so daunting. I had a starting place at least. I also became a master list maker. I had a list for EVERYTHING! It gave me a sense of control over the uncontrollable. I had a list for weekly tasks, cleaning tasks, work tasks, exercise, goals, things I wanted to accomplish before I die (not that I was in a rush), places to visit, glass projects to make. Keep in mind one thing, I didn’t always finish everything on these. As the years went by and my Bipolar ebbed and flowed as it does, I became better at it. I refined my lists to more meaningful ones. I maintained the ones that kept me in check like the weekly tasks ones. Apparently my doctor thinks it’s good to stay on schedule. 😉
What’s the point of all this rambling? To be honest, I’m not really sure. I had a thought in my head and had to get it out. I’ll try to make next post better. 🙂
When my doctor gave me this poem, I was so grateful. I refer back to it often to remind myself that I need to be mindful of every emotion, every experience I have, every person in my life, and every journey I am on. Each one of those teaches me, shapes me, and emboldens me. Don’t get me wrong, not all of these experiences are good ones. Not all of the people who come in and out of my life are pleasant. Not all of the journeys I embark on are straight forward and obstacle free. However, without those, I would not be who I am today or will be in the future.
Once I started to embrace my Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety Disorder in this way, it started to make more sense to me. It didn’t happen overnight, but I’m so glad it finally did. My life have lost the shackles of any stigma that may be around me by embracing my disorders. By embracing the disorder, you take away the power of anyone that tries to shame you. You take away the power of anyone that tries to tell you that “You can’t…” Simply put, once you embrace your diagnosis, you then know that “You can…”. It is so liberating!
As you can from my blog, it’s been quite some time since I last wrote. I took a “bit’ of time off to pursue my glass art. It’s something that I love and something that helps manage my symptoms. It’s also how I am able to give back to my community. This is very important to me. So often I feel that I take so much from the people around me (in time, support, energy) as often happens when “episodes” occur. I feel the need for this outlet…the need to help others, including my loved ones when I am able.
I feel like I’m rambling a bit in this posting. My apologies. I am bit rusty. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to keep this blog more current. I am stepping back into the Mental Health Advocacy arena once again after a LONG break. I feel it is time. So, there more posts about that. I would love to hear from you. What are some of your resolutions?