This is my last post to Lily who wrote a number of comments on my post, Blogging to Learn.
I'm going to write this in a letter form because it's easier for me. I must say that I can't address all the issues you raised because it's just too exhausting for me. Actually that's one of the reasons I write on wellness rather than illness. Focusing on illness depletes me; focusing on wellness makes me feel good. However, I'm hoping that the sites I've recommended are helping you, and perhaps others can address these issues.
Today, I'd like to focus on your job and the problems you mention. During my life I've had many careers; some of which were fulfilling and some of which weren't. And, I, too, can't do jobs that I don't feel are meaningful.
But, what I have learned is that sometimes a project or job is meaningful, but it still makes me sick. Soon after I was diagnosed I began writing a book on all the terrible experiences I was having with my psychiatrists, the medication, the side effects and so forth and so on. One of my strengths is that I can write with humor about things that are truly devastating.
I actually thought that writing about all this would be really helpful. But, what I learned was that it wasn't. Dwelling on negative things--even if I did it with humor--produced negative thoughts and feelings.
So, I guess what I'm saying is this: "If your job is meaningful, but it is making you ill you should discuss it in therapy. There are tons of meaningful jobs out there for all of us. And they don't have to be in the mental health field.
If you love children, then perhaps you might do something associated with them. I imagine it's also quite possible to take your background and utilize it in a different environment.
I guess the point I'm making is that I believe that our jobs can make us ill. While I've learned that many people want to blame their biochemistry for feeling sick, the fact is that I believe it's far easier to blame our biochemistry and far more frightening to understand that it can be caused by our work, our relationships, our families, and dozens of other stressors.
I'm not suggesting you quit your job, but I do believe it's a topic you should be discussing with your therapist. If there's anything I've learned in the past 15 years, it's that making life changes and coming to grips with our demons can truly make a difference.
Whether we're bipolar or not, we need to resolve our issues to get well. And that's perhaps the best advice I can give.
I also believe that we need to develop a wide array of wellness activities that we utilize on a daily basis. I know I feel better when I garden, play music for seniors, walk my dog, exercise, spend time with friends, and remain outdoors. I know I feel worse when I focus on illness, spend too much time on the computer, write about negative things, and remain indoors.
I know that keeping a mood chart and journal is a critical wellness activity. I also know that learning stress reduction techniques makes a huge difference.
Most of all I believe that if we focus on wellness, maintain hope, and dedicate ourselves to healing, we can achieve it. Good luck and God bless!