Living with Bipolar Disorder: Hope & Inspiration
by Cassendre Xavier
I am a multi-media artist and arts event coordinator who has been living with mental health issues for my entire life. In 1993 I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and since then I have been in treatment and on medication on and off. When I am off, my life, career, and relationships show this very clearly.
Being back on the right track of taking care of my mental health issues, I have recently been posting inspirational notes on social media, which have been very well received.
Statistics show that 1 out of 100 Americans live with bipolar disorder and receiving positive and appreciative feedback from my friends, associates, readers, and fans of my music affirms for my efforts at sharing my journey of mental illness and symptom management.
In addition to the reprinted posts at the end of this message, I'd like to offer some words of hope and inspiration to you if you or someone you love suffers from mental illness:
1) With symptom management (which would include any combination of individual or group counseling/psychotherapy, medication, behavioral changes, diet, exercise, mediation, etc.), and strong relationships, one can live a healthy, productive life.
2) There are many resources out there for everyone, with any level of income.
3) Perserverance may be your greatest asset.
I wish for you a wonderful new year and may it be full of health, breakthroughs, friendship, and progress!
More hope, inspiration (and a little bit of humor!):
BIPOLAR EMPLOYMENT: Freelancing or entrepreneurship may be ideal because you can choose how and when you work and/or interact with others.
BIPOLAR BELONGING: A well-matched volunteer activity can be a great way for you to build community and make new friends!
BIPOLAR MORALE: A well-matched volunteer position can be a great way to improve your mood(s) and self-esteem.
BIPOLAR EMPLOYMENT: Volunteering keeps you active, skilled, social, and puts in your resume what you did during periods of unemployment.
BIPOLAR AMBITION: Yep, looking back I'm pretty sure I was doing better when I was trying to get better, as opposed to when I was trying to be great.
BIPOLAR FRIENDSHIPS: One of the best things I did today was try to just enjoy people and not fear or worry.
BIPOLAR UNIQUENESS: What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
BIPOLAR FEELINGS: Don't hold on to embarrassation or disappointitude over your sometimes odd or inappropriate behavior. Journal and talk with your theraptist about it instead.
YOUR BRAIN-BONE'S CONNECTED TO YOUR BOD-BONE: So why would you feel fine taking blood pressure or birth control pills, but not psych meds?
GOT MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES? Feel no more ashamed that your brain needs medical attention than you would your ticker or your liver!
BIPOLAR ACTIVISTATION: I increase visibility and acceptance of mental health issues, on account of stigma ain't sexy and it damages and delays recovery!
BIPOLAR OBSERVATIONALS: I've had gainful employment and stable, independent housing when I've been on medication AND in therapy.
BIPOLAR RECORDKEEPERY (aka "RECORDKEEPAGE") When you feel good or good stuff happens, write that sh__ in your journal!
YOU KNOW YOU'RE BIPOLAR WHEN...one of the things you enjoy reading most is your own psychiatric evaluations!
BIPOLAR AFFIRMATION: I trust my mind and my emotions. My symptom management and support system are strong.
BIPOLAR SUCCESS: It's not about succeeding in being great, it's about trying every day to be better, and that includes accepting your diagnosis and condition.
Cassendre Xavier has been writing for Wisdom Magazine's online edition since May 2009. Cassendre has been living with bipolar depression her whole life, been a member of Philadelphia's LGBT, polyamorous, and New Age communities since 1991, and from 1996-1999 facilitated Sisters Healing Together, a peer support group for women survivors of incest with a special focus on compulsive overeating, which she also founded, at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Cassendre is the creator of the popular Affirmations for Survivors guided meditation audio series (“Self-Love” and “Spirituality” were released in 2007; “Sexuality” and “Life Skills” are forthcoming). For more information, please visit http://cassEndrExavier.com