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HUNGRYWOMAN2's Photo HUNGRYWOMAN2 Posts: 17,681
1/18/15 7:26 P

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Living as a person with a bipolar disorder isn't easy. However, on the positive side there are certain times in which a little mania has gotten me through some difficult times. This is particularly evident in social gatherings when my anxiety is high and it is necessary to interact.

Teresa






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"Men's best successes come after their worst failures"

Henry Ward Beecher


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CD12377244 Posts: 5,197
1/18/15 3:22 P

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Not a gift at all. It's a curse!

SMILLER1710's Photo SMILLER1710 SparkPoints: (6,378)
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10/19/14 6:25 P

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I used to be a teacher for people with special needs. At some point or other I worked with infants through adults. Like you, I was so on when I was teaching. I was passionate and I was able to engage others in my passion. I especially enjoyed working with young children birth to 5 years and teaching their parents how to work with them to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, teaching Special Education has a high burn out rate, and I burned out. As kind of a second career, I trained others to work with people with special needs. I enjoyed that too, but that's when my bipolar really came on strong and I couldn't work anymore. I enjoy being creative with needle arts and I find that many times my bipolar helps me see things in a way that no one else does.

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions

Sue



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10/19/14 10:56 A

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Wow what an amazing read :-) ! The first time since diagnosis four years ago that I've read anything positive about bipolar!

I feel like I don't have a proper 'buffer' between me and life. I have this sincerity all the time and an artists need for constant self expression (while being painfully shy) -- So lately I've struggled so much. I really needed to read this, I think it's a first step for me.

So how has bipolar been a gift in my life?

I used to teach and my favorite class was troubled teens. They really weren't so troubled as creative and awesome. I tried to find out who was into what and encouraged them to bring that passion into the classroom. But I also taught some other courses and I never had problems and I always loved my students. When I'm teaching I'm not shy, weird or bipolar - that goes away and the passionate me comes out.

When I became really ill, with the divorce I went through and moving across the country I still managed to open an eBay shop and come up with products. Coming up with new product ideas and launching businesses is something I really love to do. ((BTW -- I need someone to run some ideas by - will trade by helping with your online business I'm an expert with HTML / CSS etc.))

I'll try to think of other ways it has helped. I think I'm just a box of contradictions most of the time. **Cheers**

DEBTEVELDAHL's Photo DEBTEVELDAHL Posts: 16,119
9/25/14 12:20 P

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It's wonderful when we can give back to our parents. Your gift is gold in this instance. Deb

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance - Samuel Johnson
Deb
PST - Pacific Standard Time - West Coast
Portland, Or
Co leader of the Dealing with Depression team
ML/WL co leader of the Rowdy Rebels Spring 5% Challenge 2019
Co leader of the Living with Bipolar Disorder


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CD13876765 Posts: 7,296
9/25/14 8:47 A

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That's really great that you can help your mom.

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9/25/14 8:17 A

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This morning I am thankful for my gift of Bipolar. I have this uber-sensitive and compassionate side of me that was willing to go with mom to a specialist yesterday, being with/watching as she received steroid injections in her knee. Ouch! This morning she suffers horrid pain and just can't walk to care for herself easily. Okay, I called out to be her caregiver! Today I am experiencing clarity that let me see how she has always cared for me in my ups and downs, in betweens and bipolar bounces, so I can give her some caring now!

SMILLER1710's Photo SMILLER1710 SparkPoints: (6,378)
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9/15/14 4:41 P

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I'm in the same boat as you, Jeanne. I have very, very few friends IRL. Those who know me accept me for who I am. Same with relatives. I recently "came out" on Facebook in light of Robin Williams untimely death. People seem to be a bit more open about mental health issues at the present moment. I wanted to see what would happen with old school friends I haven't seen in decades and casual friends. No one has run away screaming that I know of. In fact I made a new FB friend through a common person who also has a bipolar disorder

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions

Sue



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BLUEJAY1969's Photo BLUEJAY1969 Posts: 9,506
9/15/14 4:27 P

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IRL I do keep it to myself unless I know people well. Here on SP I am not hiding anything about me. If someone chooses not to associate with me b/c of it - well I can deal. IRL I don't have many friends and the few I do have are long time friends that I count as family! They are very accepting and do not "label" me at all. They just consider it a part of my personality which I like b/c it is!

"and I said to my body softly; "I want to be your friend." it took a long breath and replied; "I have been waiting my whole life for this." - Nayyirah Waheed

Mountain Standard Time, USA

Hugs,
Jeanne


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DEBTEVELDAHL's Photo DEBTEVELDAHL Posts: 16,119
9/15/14 2:06 P

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I've had that happen to me too. There were people who were assuming that I had a drug problem because of my mania. I was much more manic than I was depressive for the longest time. My mania is better controlled now and I do not associate with too many people outside of my family any more, so assumptions aren't made. My real friends and family accept me for who I am. Deb

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance - Samuel Johnson
Deb
PST - Pacific Standard Time - West Coast
Portland, Or
Co leader of the Dealing with Depression team
ML/WL co leader of the Rowdy Rebels Spring 5% Challenge 2019
Co leader of the Living with Bipolar Disorder


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CD13876765 Posts: 7,296
9/15/14 1:55 P

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i'D RATHER PEOPLE KNOW THAT I'm bipolar THAN MAKE ASSUMPTIONS OF WHAT THEY THINK I AM. yEARS AGO I WAS HORRIFIED TO OVERHEAR 2 CO-WORKERS TALKING ABOUT MY 'DRUG ABUSE ISSUES'.

HUNGRYWOMAN2's Photo HUNGRYWOMAN2 Posts: 17,681
9/15/14 1:23 P

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Initially, I was ashamed, and did not want anyone to know. However, I came to the conclusion that when appropriate I should let it be known. I, too, wanted acceptance for who I am. I did not want to be judged or abandoned when my behaviors or moods crossed the line of what might be generally considered "normal". I hate this distinction, but I am not coming up with a better description at this time.

Teresa






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Men's best successes come after their worst failures"

Henry Ward Beecher


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CD13876765 Posts: 7,296
9/15/14 1:02 P

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One of the reasons I'm so open is exactly what you said. If somebody can't handle my diagnoses...they can't handle me. Everyone I know knows I'm Bipolar. If somebody walks away because I am 'mentally ill' then I consider it for the best!!!

FINDINGBOBBIE's Photo FINDINGBOBBIE Posts: 2,381
9/15/14 8:52 A

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While I am not ashamed of being bipolar, it's on a need to know basis. If I feel like you are truly worthy of being part of my life, I will share. And I feel it is important to share because you are going to see some serious messed up mood swings. Because of this I am very selective of who I let into my life, I find not a lot people understand, or they want to quickly label me. I have extreme highs and lows, there is really no happy medium. While I spend most of my time being manic, and as long as I have an outlet for pent up energy, I am very happy and energetic. If I don't have an outlet, I become aggressive and very short tempered. And unfortunately, I can go from one extreme to another during the day.

I also found sharing with my direct supervisors when I was working, a must. And to be honest I find them rather receptive, they always seemed to save big projects that required a lot of physical energy for me. Which I loved. There are days when I have went into work and said I need to clean. They knew that was a day to put me on a project and keep me as far away from customers as possible until I was able to cope.





~Bobbie~
Hawaii (HST)

www.facebook.com/Findingmyinnerfitgi
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~Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you.~ William Arthur Ward


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9/9/14 11:33 A

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I whip out the "...and I have a bi-polar disorder" card when I feel the timing is right. It's all part of the getting to know someone process. I wouldn't introduce myself as "Hi, I'm Sue Miller and I have cancer" if I had it. To me this isn't any different.

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions

Sue



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CD13876765 Posts: 7,296
9/9/14 3:43 A

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I consider it to be such a large part of me. I practically introduce myself 'Lisa Gail-- Bipolar!' LOL Not really, but I do announce it to the world so people see that I am a 'regular' person. I'm a mom, a friend, a writer, a teacher, etc. I do all this & I am Bipolar! What a concept!


BLUEJAY1969's Photo BLUEJAY1969 Posts: 9,506
9/9/14 3:32 A

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I am learning to treat it the same way I do fat.... I have bipolar I am not bipolar! It's word play but it makes a big difference! In fact I'm reviewing my SparkPage to be sure I am phrasing it right..... considering taking it off b/c it's not really who I am.

"and I said to my body softly; "I want to be your friend." it took a long breath and replied; "I have been waiting my whole life for this." - Nayyirah Waheed

Mountain Standard Time, USA

Hugs,
Jeanne


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9/9/14 3:28 A

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For me it's like saying I'm a woman. I'm a mom. I'm a Washingtonian.

BLUEJAY1969's Photo BLUEJAY1969 Posts: 9,506
9/8/14 9:04 P

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emoticon Teresa

Edited by: BLUEJAY1969 at: 9/8/2014 (21:04)
"and I said to my body softly; "I want to be your friend." it took a long breath and replied; "I have been waiting my whole life for this." - Nayyirah Waheed

Mountain Standard Time, USA

Hugs,
Jeanne


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HUNGRYWOMAN2's Photo HUNGRYWOMAN2 Posts: 17,681
9/8/14 8:21 P

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emoticon I try not to make it a practice to let a label of having a bi-polar disorder define who I am. I really take issue with the identification of I am bi-polar. I am not bi-polar I am an individual who happens to be affected by a bi-polar condition,

Teresa






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Men's best successes come after their worst failures"

Henry Ward Beecher


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BLUEJAY1969's Photo BLUEJAY1969 Posts: 9,506
9/8/14 8:00 P

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I got a big smile out of that too! I am also glad you are "this way"! emoticon

"and I said to my body softly; "I want to be your friend." it took a long breath and replied; "I have been waiting my whole life for this." - Nayyirah Waheed

Mountain Standard Time, USA

Hugs,
Jeanne


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9/8/14 5:04 P

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I love you! I'm glad you are 'this way'. That really made me smile!

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9/8/14 10:28 A

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Me too, Lisa! People ask how long I've been "this way" and I say as far back as I can remember. I even distinctly remember a panic attack I had in third grade


Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions

Sue



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9/8/14 9:29 A

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Well yea!!! I know I was Bipolar as a child. I distinctly remember 'episodes'.

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9/8/14 7:40 A

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Today I realized something: my first diagnosis was Organic BP secondary to Brain injury. This just meant that my Traumatic Brain Injury symptoms were primary with the BP secondary~so I've never known exactly why moods/fluctuations and such were occurring! I just realized that, you know what? It doesn't really matter! This is just ME! Always been question of whether or not I "suffered" BP before my Injury. I believe that I did! And you know what? That's okay to since I don't have any recollection of the first 19yrs of my life, before my car wreck. I am always assured that my BP self really hasn't changed. I AM still me!!

MRSKATEDUVALL's Photo MRSKATEDUVALL Posts: 2,199
9/7/14 1:47 P

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I agree that I will not let the label and stigma of bi-polar define me. I am me; with empathy, perception, vigilance. I am still cautious in when I tell people I'm bi-polar.

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9/4/14 12:46 P

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It's taken me a long time to get here, but I accept my bipolar as part of who I am now. I think it has given me greater empathy toward others and the ability to converse with strangers and generally make them feel at ease with me. Sometimes people get a little too comfortable and I get too much info, but that's ok. They just need someone to talk to. A good therapist and the right med combo did wonders in helping me, although the various anxieties slip to the surface at times. I have a skewed sense of humor that I used to get through an abused childhood (same with my brother and sister), along with most difficulties before I was diagnosed. Now just because it's part of who I am. I still have mood swings, but not as frequent and not as deep as they once were. They're now enough to keep life interesting. Thanks, Lisa for putting words to my scattered thoughts.

Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions

Sue



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DEBTEVELDAHL's Photo DEBTEVELDAHL Posts: 16,119
9/4/14 6:46 A

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What a great post Lisa! Bipolar is a gift. I too, am proud that I am bipolar. I too, don't behave like a crazed lunatic and am well medicated. I agree with everything that you have posted. I am bipolar now and always will be. It does not have to be a disability, depressive and manic episodes or not. I consider myself to be high energy and a successful bipolar. That doesn't mean that I have not seen the dark side of suicidal thoughts, it means that having been successfully medicated and having been in therapy I don't have those thoughts anymore. Kudos for your post. You are helping to change the face of the bipolar stigma one declaration at a time. Take care and God bless, Deb

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance - Samuel Johnson
Deb
PST - Pacific Standard Time - West Coast
Portland, Or
Co leader of the Dealing with Depression team
ML/WL co leader of the Rowdy Rebels Spring 5% Challenge 2019
Co leader of the Living with Bipolar Disorder


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BLUEJAY1969's Photo BLUEJAY1969 Posts: 9,506
9/4/14 6:32 A

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Lisa,,..What a heartfelt post! I agree with a great lot of the things that you wrote. I too am terribly perceptive and empathetic! I agree also that we need a better description than mentally ill! That does invoke terrible images of a madman or madwoman running amok! I have no answers as to how we go about changing things I just know that I too wish it were different. You said everything so well that there is basically nothing for me to add.

"and I said to my body softly; "I want to be your friend." it took a long breath and replied; "I have been waiting my whole life for this." - Nayyirah Waheed

Mountain Standard Time, USA

Hugs,
Jeanne


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CD13876765 Posts: 7,296
9/4/14 6:11 A

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I am thankful for being Bipolar. So many people consider 'mental illness' to be bad, but I do not. Bipolar is not good or bad. It just is.

Because I am Bipolar I am more empathetic and sympathetic. I have so much forgiveness and love in my heart.

The only regret I have about Bipolar is the way 'normal' people perceive it. The Media has done such a disservice to me and my gift of Bipolar. That's right! I consider Bipolar a gift. It is not an illness or a disorder. I am gifted.

One of my goals in life is to break the stigma that goes with mental illness. Bipolar is where I will start because it is what is dear to me. I even want to change the term 'mental illness'. We do not say of a diabetic that they are physically ill. That phrase invokes thoughts of vomiting in the same way mental illness invokes thoughts of a crazed madman with an AK-47.

I will not lie and tell you that Bipolar is glamorous. It most certainly is not. Days, weeks and months of a depression that manifests itself in thoughts of suicide or death is not a way of life I would wish upon anyone.

Even the manias are not always happy and high. Sometimes the manias are filled with such angry thoughts like my fingernails in the scalp of another freeway driver. An anger that has never come to full reality for me, fortunately.

I will tell you that I am not what the media has made me out to be. I have never owned a gun. In fact, I am anti-gun. Therefore I doubt very seriously that I will ever shoot up a classroom of children. I did not become a stalker when my love was rejected. I was just a jilted lover. I have never abused my spouse or children. I do not even raise my voice in anger usually.

I have been medicated for the better part of 20 years. I do not walk around like a Zombie. My eyes aren't glazed over. I do not drool on myself. Medication levels out my moods so I do not get TOO high or low. I am not on mood stabilizers or anti-psychotics. I take an anti-depressant.

I do feel other people. I can read people like a book. I do not make judgments. I KNOW things about people by their mannerisms. By their stance. By their way. I can tell you more about a person by watching them for 2 minutes than another person could tell you after talking to them for twenty.

People are open to me. My friends and family say I have never met a stranger. I will talk to anyone and everyone from the first second I see them. I am not afraid of anyone. You probably can not tell me the color of homeless man's eyes. I can tell you his name and where he is from.

Please do not dismiss a person because they are mentally ill. The truth is the only way that you will know that I am Bipolar is because I will tell you. I have been told I do not LOOK mentally ill. I still am not sure if I should have said thank you. Was that a compliment? OR an insult. It does not matter.

I know who I am. I am a friend, spouse, lover, mother and daughter. I like who I am. You will like me, too, if you can get past the fact that I am mentally ill.

You never have to guess how I feel about something. My family says I wear my feelings on my sleeve. The truth is I do not try to hide my feelings. I do not want to either. I think everyone would be better for sharing who they are, how they feel and what they want... honestly and openly for every reason.

I tell my friends, family and people who are important to me I love them often. I tell my son and his dad every day. Usually several times a day. I have said I love you to my Dr's nurse. I think if you feel or believe something you should make it known. Nobody has ever been offended by being loved.

I have been told I am too honest. Is that even possible? I don't believe it is. Honesty and humor are the ways I intend to break the stigma of Bipolar. If you are honest in all things you never have to worry about remembering who you told what to because it is always the same. Humor makes everything better.

Laughter can heal all wounds. Sometimes even ill humor makes it better.

I hope that what you take away from this is that 'The Mentally Ill' are not bad or good. I also hope that if you have a mental illness that you do not hide in the shadows. The only way we are going to break the stigma is to bring it out into the light so we can see and learn from it. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or to hide!

I am not ashamed of being Bipolar. In fact, I am LOUD and PROUD! I am Bipolar, but it's not all of who I am. It's part of me. I am so much more.

I am thankful that I am Gifted with this thing we call Bipolar.

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