I rarely post on the weekend. But I wanted to make an exception because the Ellen Frank quote I shared in my last post so distressed me that I've been feeling bad about it for 24 hours. The way I retain wellness is to determine what's making me feel bad, and to take action.
In this case, my action is to share my final thoughts about what Dr.Frank wrote, to discuss what bipolar wellness means to me, and to provide a few inspirational quotes.
To me, bipolar wellness (as a frame of mind) means thinking positively about bipolarity rather than negatively. When psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health professionals say, "Bipolar disorder is 'like a death,' or it's a lifelong illness, or we need to grieve for our 'lost healthy self,'" I sometimes need to acknowledge what has been said, refute it, and move on.
Unlike earlier periods in my life, I don't allow other people's negative perceptions of bipolarity to depress me. One of the greatest values of writing this blog has been to meet other bipolar wellness seekers. Before my blog, I'd never talked with one person who had been labeled "bipolar." Now, I have more than 44,000 hits on this blog, and I have read comments from hundreds of people, and responded in kind.
What I've learned is that we all approach our bipolarity differently. We have different symptoms. Some of us come to this illness from unipolar depression, others from mania, and still others from psychotic episodes. But I believe the reason we have come together as a "virtual support group" is because we all seek wellness.
When I started Bipolar Wellness Writer in February of 2007, it was because I wanted to share the information I had learned, and the wellness activities I had developed, and learn new ones. I wanted to discover people who were "more than their illness."
I felt that if we could tell each other what was working for us, it would help us in our quest. If we could share disappointments, it would make them less difficult to deal with. And if we could provide hope for each other--when it's so lacking within the mental health professional community--we would strengthen our collective resolve in seeking wellness.
And I believe that has happened in a significant way. So, rather than ending the week on a negative note, I wish to end with some life-affirming quotes about hope.
"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge,
That myth is more potent than history.
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts
That hope always triumphs over experience
That laughter is the only cure for grief
And I believe that love is stronger than death."
~Robert Fulghum, Storyteller's Creed
"Become the change you seek in the world."
"Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them."