Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bipolar Doesn't Have to be a Weakness

At the end of last year I had gone to urgent care for severe back pain.  During my exam the doctor had viewed my medical record and asked what a few of my listed prescribed medications were for.  I sheepishly admitted I had been diagnosed with Bipolar but I wasn't currently taking my medication.  She asked why not and I was too upset to answer her.  Instead, I cried and told her it was complicated.  As the doctor handed me some tissue she told me, "You know Bipolar doesn't have to be a weakness.  In fact, it can be a strength."

Honestly, I thought the doctor was just trying to be nice and supportive but didn't really know what she was talking about.  For more than a decade I've struggled with depression/anxiety/Bipolar - and never once have I thought any of these things were strengths!

Yesterday, I was visiting with my dear friend April (who I've known for 20+ years)... we were catching up with each other and we got around to talking about how I was doing mentally.  I admitted I haven't been on medication in quite some time, but for the most part I was fully functional and doing okay (not perhaps my greatest, but again, okay and functional).  I mentioned how focusing on my diet and exercise has really helped.  April said, "It's really great you're able to channel..."

I'm not really sure what she said after that because the proverbial light bulb went off inside my head.  "You know Bipolar doesn't have to be a weakness.  In fact, it can be a strength." 

The thought reverberated inside my head and I finally understood what the doctor meant!  She wasn't just trying to be nice - and she did know what she was talking about!

I {unintentionally} ultimately learned how to channel my Bipolar into a strength (focusing my attention on getting healthy - diet and exercise).  It was an awesome, eye-opening moment for me.  I no longer have to feel handicapped or limited by my illness - I'm actually empowered because of it!

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