“You are not your disability – you can do anything!”, can be hard to believe, and even harder to achieve. For example, anyone living with a physical and/or mental disability are often told not to define themselves by their bipolar disorder. We’re told not to confine our opportunities, hopes, and dreams by the walls of our disability. But we are not limitless and we can thank it for that.
Mental health stigma is the string that puppeteers part of our lives. The judgment from others, and the way we also judge ourselves, influences our confidence and ability to pursue those “limitless” opportunities.
This is nothing new but it’s been on my mind for a number of reasons. I have felt so disempowered and debilitated by my bipolar disorder lately. I am radiating my “bipolar” colours everywhere on the walls. I was completely slayed by my mood swings and anxiety when I forgot one of my many medications during my recent vacation. When I returned, I had to slooowly increased my medication again. I’m still paying for it now but it’s getting better.
Being slammed by those bipolar mood swings and the boiling anxiety has reminded me that I’m not as limitless as other’s have preached, and before you go cray-cray on me, hear me out.
Another one of my favourites is, “Things get easier, trust me.” and I know it does – I’ve felt it! The (hypo)manic episodes become easier to manage, the emotional disturbances are more stable with medications and therapies, and so on. But sometimes it is abso-f—lutely relentless. Some of us have spent numerous months or even years battling the same extreme ups and downs; when medications won’t cooperate and our minds are resistant to everything.
But if we lived in a stigma-free world of mental health, those relentless bipolar episodes would be acceptable and taken seriously… then we could be granted limitless opportunities to heal and to pursue our dreams.
I have a few personal and professional aspirations that I hope to accomplish before I die. That seems like a long time, but life is unpredictable, as my mind can sometimes be too. Still, I continue to learn that my bipolar disorder occasionally replaces my “cans” with “cannots”, and only time will tell if that all changes. I know that breaking down mental health stigma can certainly turn that around. I hope you can spread the word with me every Friday, on my blog, to stop the stigma.