Finding the Beauty in Bipolar

Months ago when I was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 my world fell apart. Looking back now I would have laughed and slapped the person that posted the quote below from tiny buddha .

self discovery

You have to first understand that me being diagnosed with an incurable illness of the brain was like a beauty queen being told she needed a face lift. I may not have always been told I was loved but i I was always told how smart I was. I could count on my intelligence and quick wit to carry me through life. I was a quick problem solver and a great actress.  My husband always said one of the reasons he married me was because I was so smart. So you can see that when I was diagnosed I felt like I had failed in life and lost everything that had always been a constant in my life.

At first it seemed every thread of my life began to unravel. The depression that I had always battled began to hit me harder than ever – like a cement truck and I was a crumbling stone. Social anxiety ruled my life at a time my oldest was starting kindergarten.  Fears became reality and when I found myself literally on my knees I knew I had to take healing my heart, soul and mind seriously. I knew the journey ahead would be hard but I did not know the joy and beauty that would unfold.

Change is hard.

I began intensive therapy, Eastern therapies, modern Western medicine, hired a house manager, started a deep  journey into religion and took a break from a schedule I had know my working adult life – 100 mph down the freeway with no breaks. I put down my camera and got to work in another way.

Change is messy.

Along the way I have lost friends. I have kept friends. I don’t blame them. I have cancelled more social obligations that I ever could imagine – even before my diagnosis because I would be up  when I committed and when the time came I was usually a scared mess of what people would think in the depths of depression. Pill bottles were strewn through the cabinets at one point – I think I was taking 12 pills a day. I have taken meds that made me forget my kid’s names or give me energy to the point I couldn’t sleep. Life gets messy. Thats okay. Self discovery is an up and down battle. My therapist says my home renovation and all of my unfinished art projects are real life metaphors for my life right now. I think messy is an understatement. However after every storm the sky seems bluer and if you’re lucky you can see a rainbow.

Change is Beautiful.

Ya know what though, the journey that Bipolar forced me to take brought me closer to the peace I have always yearned for.  I have begun to discover that Change really can be beautiful and not just a staying tossed around by “positive” people. So what is so beautiful now that I’m living with a mental illness?

  1. I learned to honor each day. Show compassion to time and embrace each moment you are given. I don’t know if tomorrow I my body will ache from the depression or if I’m so over energized that I can’t focus on a single task. So today I’m living in the very moment and showing appreciation to this day. How are your honoring the day?
  2. I became a better mother and a more compassionate woman. I started focusing on not trying to be a Pinterest mom or tiger mom or whatever labels that are thrown on us women. Those of us that judge others are only judging ourselves in actuality. We are busy comparing ourselves and seeing all that we are not. I walked away from all of the “I should be doing this as a mom” and just became an ordinary mom. It’s pretty amazing. Are you caught in the trap of being a “super mom”? 
  3. I became a better wife.  I started giving to him what I was always taking. Ask your husband how his day was first thing. It will make a world of difference in your marriage and time together.
  4. I rediscovered God. Period. God has become the hands of grace that catch me when I’m spiraling into the depression the Bipolar brings. Have you put God out in the cold or do you allow him to light the way through you? 
  5. My creative outlets opened up and ideas have flowed freely like water from a geyser. I’ve always known I was intelligent with a hight IQ. However bipolar forced me to evaluate my gifts and open them. Is there a creative project you are interested in pursuing? Quilting? Piano? Creative writing? Watercolor painting? Open a new tab and sign up for something now. 
  6. I discovered my true purpose in this life which is to raise my daughters up to be strong women. In that I know that I have been put in a place to make me respect and show compassion to all women. I want to empower women and help women shed the armor. I want my women to grow up in front of strong amazing women. We are all the same inside.  Are you living your life to meet your purpose?
  7. I became stronger mentally. I used to think I was so weak. All my life I have hid behind this armor that hid my weaknesses – my fears. It also made me a “bitch” most of the time. Then once stripped I accepted my weakness and decided to get stronger – like exercise for your body – I was exercising my brain in many many ways. Now in this journey I realize it is the weak that become the strong. That is such a releasing feeling. Are you feeling weak? What is it that makes you feel that because you are not.

Are you finding the beauty in the dark parts of your life? I don’t think I would have ever began to see the beauty in all things without this diagnosis. Do you see the light in the dark? Are you ready to change to be the person you were meant to be? Learn from others in life. Life is too short to figure it all out on your own.