Every day is a challenge for many people. I’m sure it is for you. I find it to be so. Many people to look at me would not think I have a care in the world. Some days I don’t. But I do live with a secret from some. It isn’t tattooed on my forehead. I expose it as often as I can. I have bi-polar disorder. I’ve had it since my early 20’s.
Now, don’t jump to conclusions. I’m not a dreary person, quite fun, rather. I love life. Life is an adventure I would not want to miss! I love the colors, the action, the beauty, the love I feel, sunshine on my face, memories of childhood, work, play, writing, my daughter, my husband, God.
Some days I don’t love MY life. Some days I get tired of the struggle and I try to let go and float above it. Everyone’s life hits a bump in the road. Sometimes the day is filled with bumps. I have many days like a big ski race filled with moguls: dodging this fear, motivating myself to do that, jumping the hurdle of leaving the house, etc.
Then there is night, that’s hard. Nights can be very long. Sleep eludes me. Sleeplessness can cause a manic episode, insomnia is a symptom of mania, which came first? Oh, I don’t want to go manic, you cry into the night. Fortunately this is not a nightly battle. If it were to become one…to the hospital I would go. No! That is to be avoided at all costs!
These are the types of thoughts going on inside the head of someone who has a mental disorder. There is a lot to worry about. Organizing medication, filling and refilling, taking everything on time, getting to sleep early, eating right, exercise (oops!) I worry because I want to do things right. I want to stay well. I want to be functioning, successful and happy. I don’t want to be a burden. I want to contribute life and laughter to those I love — in my family, online, in my neighborhood, church, in the workplace.
One of my favorite quotes my Mother Teresa is: “Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” (Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html#GmZYDrlESgVWesOb.99) I meet everyone with a smile regardless of how I feel inside. Seeing someone else makes me smile. People who know me well can see depression behind my smile, or in my voice, sense the over-stimulation, beginnings of mania.
I know there are so many other people who feel this way. I want to reach them…and others, who don’t understand. So, I’ve decided to write about…okay I’ll say the words: mental illness. There it is. Now I’m laughing! That wasn’t so hard to say. Stick with me and let’s learn together. Let’s blow up some misconceptions, CRUSH some taboos and EXPOSE prejudice with the good old LIGHT OF DAY! Welcome to my life and let’s see if we can live ABOVE madness!
Online articles on this subject by Libby Baker Sweiger: http://theusguys.com/2011/02/profile-libbytalks-has-a-secret/
This article first appeared in The Howie Blog: Regional Blog
Copyright by Libby Baker Sweiger