I’ve always enjoyed troubleshooting and trying to find solutions to problems. I find it to not only be fun, but a great exercise for the mind. Well, finding a solution to help with Bipolar Disorder and Depression is far less fun, but it is a worthwhile endeavor. That is why I’m presenting to you five qualities that I feel are essential building blocks of Bipolar wellness. Every mentally ill person I know of that attains a high degree of functionality and long-term recovery possesses these five qualities.
The people I interact with regularly tell me how important my lived experience and wisdom gained is. I often counter this point with the importance of book learned knowledge. You see, mental illness is mostly a giant gray area. It is very easy to confuse one mental illness for another in the course of trying to be correctly diagnosed. And frankly, that’s not necessarily the fault of medical professionals. It is often the result of the consumer not understanding that certain facets of their personality are bad or symptoms.
Personal knowledge is important because it helps a Bipolar person separate themselves from their mental illness. Once you understand what is the real you and what is the mental illness, it makes it much easier to spot when medication isn’t working, unwell cycles, or destructive actions.
The other side of the Knowledge coin is Understanding. Understanding relates more to the wisdom of knowing how to apply the knowledge that a person has. There is a universe of information on mental illness out there; and only a fraction of it will actually apply to each of us individually. We must reflect and understand how our mental illness applies to each of us, specifically.
Question 100 Bipolar people and you will come up with a 100 different examples of the manifestations and beliefs about the mental illness. We each must figure out how our diagnosis applies to us. A therapist is very helpful for this process.
All of the knowledge in the world doesn’t mean much if a person can’t meaningfully communicate what is going on in their mind. I’ve known quite a few mentally ill people who could not make the most of their professional appointments because they would lie or misrepresent the truth. That does absolutely no good. The only people that get hurt in that scenario are the consumer and their family members.
Meaningful communication between consumer and professional, consumer and supporters is necessary to find and maintain wellness. If you have a hard time saying certain things, write it down and hand it over that way! I did this a lot when I was still struggling with my instability and mind.
Trust, but verify should be the mantra of everyone in life, really. The mind and mental health are complicated, vast subject with a lot of room for interpretation. Many people view the DSM as a “Bible” of mental illness; and when it comes to symptoms it may very well be. But, it doesn’t exactly add any kind of personal perspective or understanding in how behaviors are interpreted.
That means that mental health professionals can make mistakes if they make a bad judgment call on what they’re seeing, if they are assuming previous experience will be the same as the present experience, or if they simply aren’t that knowledgeable on a subject. No one can or should be expected to know everything. It’s just not possible.
So always; trust, but verify.
No one recovers from mental illness without Desire. Period. Mental wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. Each of us must find the Desire to want to be better, to do all of the tedious garbage work that goes along with being mentally well. Sooner or later, things are going to go bad. Medication stops working. Motivation is hard to find. Depression can come in and derail the progress we’re trying to make.
Desire may not be able to carry us through the overwhelming nature of Depression, but it can help us get back to our feet when the burden becomes to heavy to shoulder. A person must find their desire, find their passion, wherever they can get it, in a way that makes sense to each and every one of us.
Find a way to build on these five qualities. It will make your journey in life and towards wellness much easier.
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