Thursday, May 16, 2013

Which Do You Choose?

You have two choices. You can either choose to fight for your emotional health, find peace of mind and live a happy, productive life, or you can choose to remain on your roller coaster. Only you can make this decision.

Surprisingly, 90 percent of people suffering from bipolar disorder choose to make no effort and be proactive in bettering their life. They enjoy the ups and downs and will inevitably continue down a very destructive path, be misunderstood and live a great deal of their life in misery. If this is you, then accept the alternative and give up now.

I, however, have chosen to be in the 10 percent who have taken control and become a productive member of society and lead a somewhat 'normal' life. If you choose the second option, to move forward, stabilize and regain your mental health like me, then you're well on your way. But remember, it's ultimately up to you to put in the work. Trust me, no one is going to come knocking on your door and say, "Please excuse me, but would you like me to fix you? And by the way, it's on the house!" And if you do find someone who wants to fix you who isn't a doctor, run like hell, especially after knowing them for a short period of time. They don't know what you've gone through and how hard you've worked, only you do.

One afternoon several years ago I was watching an episode of Larry King Live. The episode was entitled "20 Years of Bipolar Hell." The guest was actress Linda Hamilton (from 'Terminator'). Caller after caller was desperate for answers she didn't have. I sat frustrated as I watched and listened. I'm sitting there talking back, no, practically shouting, to the TV, "I know the answer! I know how!" This is when I knew I could help people, my passion. I could teach them by sharing my strategies and coping tools to manage my bipolar disorder on any given day with its many challenges.

Most famous people have money and resources available to them that we don't have the luxury. It's so easy for them to just say to go to the doctor, get medicated all will be peachy keen. NOT! And don't be fooled. You can bet half of them are half-step'n it. What I want to know is, how are all the people walking around with no place to live, no money, no food, no work who suffer from manic-depression going to turn their life suddenly into a bed of roses?!

Add the daily pressures of life, housing, transportation and money issues. And those are for the 'normal' people. We get to deal with severe, ever-changing emotional cycles, commonly referred to as mood swings (I hate that term, it sounds unstable lol). Some last seconds. Others days, weeks and months. And don't forget all the ones in between. There's long ones and short ones all intertwined. They take you from wanting to stay in bed for days on end, pull the sheets over your head and want to disappear, only to be followed by a huge high and feeling like you can take on the world and solve all its problems. Don't forget the confusion, racing thoughts, insomnia. You get the picture.

Your case may be even worse. You could be having chronic panic attacks or in a great deal of physical pain. Say, for instance, back problems, arthritis or migraine headaches. In these cases, what ends up happening is the emotions and the physical aches and pains decide to wage their own war inside you; they exacerbate one another. When you can get through one of these days, go to bed being thankful, pat yourself on the back and say it was a great day.

Wow! That's a lot of crap to deal with. But let me assure you - IT CAN BE DONE! And the payoff will be amazing! Even to the point that people will have no clue that you suffer from this illness unless you tell them. You should see the looks on their faces. You'll love it. And this may sound strange, but you will probably be one of the sanest people you know and have abilities you never dreamed you have.

The day I realized that the only thing wrong with me was a genetic chemical imbalance, just as natural as the color of my blue eyes, it actually came as a huge relief. It meant it wasn't my fault. Just knowing it isn't your fault should bring you comfort because being aware is half the battle. You know what you're dealing with and this knowledge will give you the power to take control.

See, I understand. Good news is, it could be worse. You have a gig that can be managed, some people don't. They don't have a choice. Just remember that in making your decision.

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