We all have tough stuff to deal with in our lives. I haven’t met someone yet who has managed to live an entirely charmed life. I guess the grisly bits provide colour and substance. And ultimately they cause us to grow.
When I was diagnosed and for a few years afterwards, I looked at living with bipolar disorder as the worst thing that had ever happened to me. My diagnosis felt like a life sentence. Which I suppose it is. There is no cure for bipolar disorder. One must endure its rhythms with a solemn vow – ‘until death parts us’.
But more recently I have begun to take that ‘life sentence’ and flip my perception of it. Living with bipolar disorder has become an unexpected gift.
The longer I live with this disorder the more I realize that the real power of this gift lies with sharing it. Although mental illness is traditionally shrouded in secrecy and denial, I have come to understand that lasting health and wellness can grow out of bringing peace and acceptance for others. The best way I know how to do that at this point in my journey is to share what I have learned travelling this path.
It’s a rather terrifying venture opening up one’s most closely kept thoughts, experiences and stories to perfect strangers. I suppose I am now vulnerable to the judgment of others, and I imagine something I contribute along the way might offend another. For that I apologize in advance.
But my true hope is that greatly outweighing the unhelpful things I might share are insightful truths. That is after all what I have committed to do here – be truthful and honest about a topic that is hard for most of us to talk about aloud.
I am not an expert. I am not a medical professional. I don’t dispense psychiatric or psychological advice. I am a mom. I am a writer. I am a wife, sister and daughter. I love life and have fought hard for the one I live now. And if you’ll have me, I would love to share it with you.