Hello all you keepers or words, today blog post hits a bit closer to home as it involves dealing with mental health specifically my diagnosis. I have been very open about my bipolar disorder in doing so blogging about something that is so personal it’s hard I’m not going to lie but being on this constant rollercoaster ride trying to seek answers to new questions it’s tough. Through therapy and support I learned some valuable tools that helps when in the mist of an episode.
This blog is based upon my personal perspective and experience dealing with a disorder.
The research of this blog is for informational purpose.
I am not a doctor or a license healthcare worker.
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self harm call 911 immediately.
Old Familiar Face
As I walk to get grab something to eat, I got to thinking what this week blog posts should be about. Stumped, I’m walking into the store thinking out loud apparently when someone taps me on the shoulders Sunny? Me being taken back by this because I’m at work and no one there calls me Sunny. Seeing a familiar face indeed an ex coworker someone I worked with over ten years ago. We started chatting. She informs me that she follows my blog and follow me on social media. As we got to talking she asks me why I name my disorder. In her opinion by naming my bipolar disorder “Chum” not only am I’m giving bipolar power I also humanizing it giving it a face.
I can see her point, however, she’s not struggling with any mental health issues. It’s very difficult to explain to someone who can’t possibly understand the struggle. She continues to give her honest opinion not aware of what’s coming out of her month, I thought this is interesting. This is the very reason why I name my disorder. I needed an out. I needed a way to grab her attention, keep her attention, educate her on bipolar disorder without offending her. I look at the newsstand. I see a magazine with 13 Reasons Why cast on front. That’s it! I’ll give her 13 reasons why I name my bipolar disorder.
13 Reasons Why
13. Support; It’s very odd or I’m just weird or a little of both but when I’m around family and friends I say bipolar. Everywhere else I say my Chum either way I found having an impregnable support system is the key. I have a crisis plan in place because unfortunately with this disorder the episode are tramaic. I have a crisis plan in place where my champions can tell what’s really going on with me. I learned this system in support therapy. I won’t give out the code but here’s some examples of how these code are used. If I haven’t reached out to anyone within 48 hours, my champions will text me a code in which I will respond with one of the following:
Code #### means I’m okay just need a little space.
Code #### means crisis mode I need help.
Code #### means I checked into a hospital.
Code #### means I am no longer among the living. (a family member will send)
12. Open; Most people don’t feel comfortable in their own shoes let alone comfortable about speaking of a mental health issue. Trust me from personal experience I found being open about my Chum and the effects helps me have better relationships with love ones.
11. Control; After spending time in therapy I come to find that I don’t like struggling with bipolar. I quite enjoy having control over my disorder. From my experience one way to take back control is learning to feel comfortable with my diagnosis. Control is more than just taking meds, or being healthier or therapy, its about having freedom. Giving bipolar a name gives that comfort to have control over it as oppose it having control over me.
10. Stigma; Most people who have no clue what mental disorders are can’t possible understand what the struggles are. It’s even more painful when the very people specializing in mental disorder there to help have misconceptions like mistaking depression for sadness something that I often get accused of. Believe it or not there’s is a difference. There’s no certain look or idea to someone struggling with bipolar disorder. These stigma can hurt and slowly chip away at your armor. It’s one thing to fight you way back from a deep depressive episode but compounded by the stigmatizing from others is crushing and be the different between life or death.
9. Patterns; This is tricky when dealing with someone who is struggling with bipolar disorder because the behavior is different but the symptoms are the same. For me I didn’t see a pattern until I was in therapy and I actually named my disorder. I realize my patterns are stressed related. I tend to over indulge with everything. When I get to that point I know I’m getting a visit from my Chum or start to a bipolar episode.
8. Coping; What does it mean to cope with an mental illness? The term coping means more than just what is identified in the dictionary. Learning coping techniques such as developing a crisis plan, developing routine with eating, checking in with champions, sleeping and in everyday life. Coping means to have a healthier life plan when tracking symptoms and staying one step ahead of the disorder.
7. Acceptance; With anything in life accepting the situation is key to a better life. Dealing with mental illness or disorder isn’t a bad thing. Often time society dictates what in my case bipolar disorder is. Learning how to embrace your diagnosis leads to acceptance and being in a better place.
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
If you or you know someone struggling with mental health, thoughts of suicide or self harm don’t be afraid to reach out.
Contact your local hospital, local fire department, local church, healthcare provider or contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
For immediate help dial 911
6. Humor; What better way to deal with mental disorder than laughter. Like music humor definitely breaks the tension and eases the difficulty of explaining what life is like struggling from mental illness. Being able to have a chuckle builds character, strength and most importantly self confidence.
5. Disarm; Humor is an important part of coping with a mental disorder. Disarming and Humor go hand and hand like peas and carrots. When I make a joke about my pal Chum and his bandmates most people thinks I’m speaking of a person and when I explain it’s my disorder, the laughter turns into gut busting laughter. It’s like I gave them permission to laugh and not be so offended or politically correct. By disarming I just knocked out all the misconception of bipolar disorder.
4. Diagnosis; Don’t you want to know what’s going on inside your head? this is what my mother said to me as I was in the mist of an undiagnosed episode. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Getting the correct diagnosis is not only a game changer but a life saver. Once diagnosis a proper game is in play on how to handle, deal and cope with your disorder and that’s half the battle.
3. Health; Now you have the diagnosis it’s important to get a game plan. Part of mental health stability is maintaining a healthy diet, healthy sleep pattern and exercise. Taking medication as directed and engaging in support groups as well as maintaining a normal therapy schedule is important. Utilizing the tools available is the other half of the battle.
2. Educate; Diagnosis means EDUCATE. Know what the disorder is. Get the facts. Research online and ask questions. Treatment is more than just taking pills calling it a day. Know what type of medication required and what are the side effects are. Learn about alternative lifestyle change. More the you know the better you’ll be able to handle the disorder.
1. Empowerment; I just gave twelve reasons why I name my bipolar disorder which is educational, informational but the reality is naming my disorder gives me power, control and inspired me to fight the lows, enjoy the highs and conquer the rest.
There you have 13 reasons why I named my bipolar disorder.
Until next time…..
Used the following articles and materials for research purpose:
“Common Patterns In Bipolar Disorder” – Bridge To Recovery
“Comedy For Coping” – BPHope Magazine
“Online Support and Options” – BPHope Magazine
“Reaching Your Defining Moment Of Acceptance” – BPHope Magazine
“Everyday Tips For Living With Bipolar Disorder’ – WebMd
“Facing The Stigma & Stereotypes Of Bipolar” – WebMD
“Six Tips to Live Better With Bipolar Disorder” – Psycom
“The Most Useful Bipolar Management Tool Is Empowerment” – Healthy Place
“Bipolar Disorder” – Mayo Clinic (Diagnosis Information)
“Everything You Need To Know About Bipolar Disorder” – Healthline
For more reads in my Confessions of a Depressive Mind Series try these…..
Repair My Armor
Crying In The Shadows
My Big Brother
Confessions of a Depressed Mind
Over The Hump
Welcome to the Dance
In the Trenches
Diary of a Manic Depressive
Bite Your Lips
Chicken Soup for the Soul
The High Card
Closed for Business
Me Chum And The City
Battle Of My Own
13 Reasons Why