“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.” ~steve jobs
LIFTING MY MOOD IS A DAILY EXERCISE. Living with Bipolar 2 is about managing moods, especially depression. If I feel my mood dropping, I know some action needs to be taken. Instead of isolating, I try to make contact with other people (Even though it’s incredibly difficult to be around people when I’m depressed). I’m learning to identify the signs that my mood is lowering, for example, insomnia, irritability, weight loss/gain, ruminating on the negative, isolating, etc. Since I often don’t have control over many life situations and the emotions they illicit, I try to focus on changing my automatic thoughts and behaviors (See the blog page for information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Cognitive Model of Depression). The research is beginning to show that changing behaviors and thoughts, which are activities of “mind,” allow the possibility of creating new neurological pathways in our brains and improved mental health. By practicing mindful awareness of thoughts and repeatedly replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones, we can ease our depressive symptoms, strengthen neural pathways that lead to mental health, and gain some control over our mood states. It’s not easy, but absolutely possible. Just remember that you’re not alone in the struggle. You have many fellow travelers on this amazing HERO’S JOURNEY.
WE WHO LIVE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS ARE FIGHTING AN UNSEEN BATTLE. We face an internal and relentless foe who tells us we are worthless, doomed to failure, and that life is meaningless. Yet with some superhuman effort we find a way. We love, though we often feel unloved. We work, though we often wake up feeling exhausted, as though the day should be ending. We smile and coexist in the world, in spite of the desire to be at home, safe, behind closed doors. We dutifully live the facade of, “I’m well. And you?” Often we are not well. Often we are not fine. Often we are exhausted, scared, and simply hanging on.
And still…we endure. We use what is left of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength to live in the “seen world” as mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, friends and lovers, teachers and students, managers and employees, volunteers, grandparents, and on and on. We are the incredible soldiers of resilience and fortitude. We are the UNSEEN HEROES, performing amazing acts of courage and sacrifice on an internal front behind smiling eyes and warm hellos. May we take comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone.