How do you accept a condition or illness? How do you come to terms with it?
Today I spent the day with my family.
Like, my whole family. The sun was shining and the kids laughed and played all day long. I caught myself lost in daydream so many times. It felt perfect. But, anyone with bipolar disorder (if you don’t have bipolar disorder, but are just curious what it feels like, read this post first) knows what is likely coming next.
See, perfect days don’t exist for me. Perfection is actually hypomania, and during that “perfect” time, I usually make at least one major life choice. (Or, I try to, my husband is very good with supporting me during this time.)
So what does the perfect day actually look like for me? In the span of 12 hours, here are some of my thoughts. These thoughts race through my mind CONSTANTLY, all day long.
1 I need to scrub the floors.
2 I need to clean out the closets.
3. I need new kitchen dishes.
4. I need to clean.
5. I should write a blog post.
6. I should work on my novel.
7. Oh dear, I need to order my fiance an anniversary gift.
8. I’m so excited for our wedding.
9. Coffee. More coffee.
10. Wow, Christmas is coming fast.
11. We should move.
12. Oh, let’s calculate mortgage payments!
It never ever stops. It’s exhausting.
So, the perfect day for me on the inside, is a whole bunch of chaos. But, on the outside, I look happy, and put together.
I’m starting to understand, and even accept, that perfection isn’t possible.
And, let’s just take a chance and say it IS possible, who’s to say that THIS isn’t my perfect? While I was juggling all those thoughts, and many, many more, I also –
got dressed, washed my face, and put make up on
brushed my hair
put together an outfit
had a pleasant conversation with my oldest
had less coffee than normally
did physical work and helped paint a fence
played with my kids
and more. So, the juggle act consists of balancing the perfection I live with, and the one that I feel I should have. But, as I’ve gotten older, I’m seeing it a little differently.
I’m learning that the way I am, and the way I feel is 100% okay and valid.
(p.s. same applies to you.) So, with this in mind, how did I come to a point of acceptance? Accepting that, yes, these intense perfect days exist, but, it’s okay, and I don’t need to try to “fix” it either.
Acceptance is key. It’s the first step.
For me, that was HARD. Accepting that I do live with bipolar disorder, and there is no way I can get rid of it, or even change it. It’s taken me a very long time to reach a point of acceptance.
Educate yourself about your conditions/or your stresses. Learn. Fill in the missing pieces in your mind. I had struggled with my moods for years before I was diagnosed, and reading about bipolar disorder quickly told me I needed to talk to my doctor. Educate yourself about how you are feeling. Take time to explore your feelings.
Find an avenue to express everything that is inside of you. Maybe it’s drawing, writing, painting, singing, anything. Anything that touches your internal emotions, and allows you the release. The release of everything you hold inside. This looks different for everyone, and that is totally okay! Your express and release is going to be completely different to mine, and that’s what is so beautiful about it! I can learn from you, and you can learn from me. We can continuously grow, learn, and educate.
Haha, yes I know you’re probably thinking, okay Enn, you already said that. But, that was educating yourself. Learning about your emotions, feelings, moods, symptoms, etc. is the first step in advocating for your health. But, once we got that, then we need to take that education, and give it away.
Educate the world.
Educating others is crucial. The world will only grow as much as we care for it to. Everyone. Some people likely will always be ignorant to mental health, and mental illness, but, if we all educate at least one person, then we double the amount of empathetic, kind, caring, considerate people.
We are part of creating and cultivating kind, wonderful people.
We can be a part of the change, simply by talking about our feelings. Talking about our struggles. Talking about our invisible, or visible conditions that we are living with.