World Bipolar Day: A Day to Take Charge of our Mental Wellness
Hi, welcome to the first ever #OWNITBLOG written with love for those who need to find strength for today and hope for tomorrow so that we can begin transforming our mental illness into our mental wellness.
One of my favorite quotes by renowned painter and dreamer, Vincent Van Gogh, goes something like this,
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Painting over 1,000 works of art, Van Gogh definitely lived by this mantra. And in my way, this is the same practice I take to manage my mental illness … one small breath at a time to amount to a lifetime of healthy breathing.
It is not a coincidence I quoted Van Gogh considering the date I decided to release this blog. Today, March 30th, is known as World Bipolar Day, a date specifically chosen to honor the revered painter’s birthday. But what does bipolar disorder have to do with Vincent Van Gogh? It is simple. Though unconfirmed it is believed that the artist suffered from an aggressive form of bipolar so much so that his own life (and ear) bared witness – both taken by the extreme polarities of psychosis.
But Van Gogh has not been the only troubled mind with a serious claim to artistry and creativity. In fact, some of the greatest literary minds like Lord Byron, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, and Edgar Allan Poe (to name a few) also suffered the wrath of manic-depression. Countless studies and books exist that link creativity with the illness. And it isn’t hard to pinpoint why.
A bipolar mind has two advantages: introspection and energy. Author Kay Redfield Jamison, a known figure in the community, writes in her book Touched With Fire, that in the creative process
“Hypomania and mania often generate ideas and associations, propel contact with life and other people, induce frenzied energies and enthusiasms, and cast an ecstatic, rather cosmic hue over life.”
“Depression prunes and sculpts; it also ruminates and ponders and, ultimately subdues and focuses thought … The tendency to gaze inward, to ask why of what avail, is, on the other hand, deeply embedded in the depressive view.”
Many know of the disorder to be an aggressive and deteriorating mental illness. And it is. But my examples of the prominent figures I discussed above show that it can also be a blessing in disguise. With the right treatment, proper support, and a disciplined lifestyle, a bipolar mind can flourish. The illness “when coupled with an otherwise imaginative, observant, and (ultimately) disciplined mind, can result in literary, musical, and artistic works of singular power,” (Jamison).
Sadly, the stigma around the illness is strong. Those who don’t know much of the disorder associate immaturity with bipolar. While others judge us, labeling us as “dramatic,” “unstable,” and “crazy.”
The organization that promotes World Bipolar Day believes that “stigma is a reality for people with bipolar disorder [because] it hinders their ability to achieve wellness.”
That is true. But I would swap the word “wellness” with the word “greatness.” Our minds have the natural potential for greatness but we simply need the tools to cultivate, discipline, nurture, and achieve it.
Thus, this blog.
OWN IT: A Blog on How to Show Bipolar Who’s the Boss is intended to provide first-hand resources on all things bipolar to people touched with the disorder, or as Jamison puts it, “with fire,” so that we can nurture our greatness and transform our curse into a blessing.
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Tune in to OWN IT’s next episode, So You’ve Just Been Diagnosed, Now What?
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The Ins and Outs of OWN IT: How to Show Bipolar Who's the Boss
A blog for people with mental illness written by an unstable, unpredictable, and uninhibited woman diagnosed with bipolar disorder
Covers all topics including relationships, coping mechanisms, entertainment, and everyday resources
Updated and shared twice a month, news and updates available on Instagram @jackie_loweree , and if you don't have an Instagram, no problem, just check my site - all posts will be here
Disclaimer: OWN IT is a first-hand account of bipolar disorder designed to orient those diagnosed with mental illness. It by no means intends to offer medical advice. If you are diagnosed with an illness, or think you may suffer from one, please seek professional help. Otherwise, take my words lightly and have fun reading!