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I am not bipolar. I am a superhero!

I have a secret.  I am a superhero. In some ways we all are superheroes.  I can hear the critics now, “Bipolar disorder is a curse.  Only suffering comes from a disease like that.”  Bah, I say.  Bah.  Life is what you make it.  Bad things happen; good things happen.  Babies are born; loved ones pass on.  We lose jobs; we get new ones.  Life stinks, then it gets good again.  I get depressed for a while and then my mood swings up again.  The key to all of this madness is that it is not madness.  It is a gift – IF you let it be. 

I previously wrote that some of the Greek philosophers thought of mania as a divine gift.  In truth, it is what you make it out to be.  If you are constantly negative and believe that life sucks and you were dealt a raw deal – yup, that’s what you got.  But if you look at the good things you are given, life gets a little brighter.  Sometimes, you can make the raw deal into something good.  Using life’s lessons to help someone else who is facing a similar issue is a great example. 

So, here is where superpowers come in to play – I believe I can make a difference and I do.  I believe that I am super and I am.  My “divine gift” has gotten me through some pretty tough situations.  For example, I had a conference that I was coordinating for work.  It was extremely time consuming and was enough work for three people, but I was the only one to do it – not to mention all my other regular duties.  I was working literally around the clock.  In the 3 days leading up to the conference, I only got 3 hours of sleep total (2 one night, 1 another and 0 the third night) – to make it worse, I was also teaching one of the workshops!  So my superpower kicked in – I went full on manic.  It may not have been the ideal situation, but it got me through.  I survived and the conference was a big success! 

However, for every superhero, there is some sort of “kryptonite.”  Mine is the depression.  No mania comes without a corresponding depression – for me it tends to match in strength.  After that conference, I slept for about 22 hours straight and had severe depressive symptoms for several weeks.  But everyday I still got up, got my son to day care, went to work, and took care of my family and myself.  Why?  Because I could.  Because I wanted to.  Because I am stronger than my depression. 

Part of my superpower is positive thinking and striving to make a difference.  I know what it feels like to be at rock bottom.  I tried to kill myself several times when I was younger.  I used to cut myself.  But the pain always ended at some point, and I found that I was stronger than the pain.  I am stronger than depression.  As soon as I feel the darkness lift, I use my superpowers to grab on to the sun and brighten my world.  More than that, I use it to brighten the worlds of other people.  I found that helping others helps me to grow and heal.  I use my experiences to make a difference.  That is part of why I blog – to try to help others by sharing what works for me, and hopefully showing them know they are not alone.  After I came to terms with being raped in college, I volunteered for a sexual crisis hot line to help other victims because I got through it and they could, too.  I might not have X-Ray vision like Superman, but I can see the world that I want to live in and want to help others see it, too. 

I used to think that superheroes weren’t real. I used to believe that I deserved all of the bad things that happened to me because I have bipolar disorder.  It took a long time for me to start believing in myself, but when I did, I realized that having bipolar disorder would only define me if I let it.  Most important thing is that I am a superhero to myself.  Because I believe in the power of positive thinking and never giving up, and most of all, because I believe in making the world a better place than I found it, I am a superhero. 

I have survived things that most people couldn’t imagine and no matter how low they’ve brought me, I always get back up.  Life continues to put challenges in front of me; some will knock me down, some may make me lose hope for a little while, but I will find it again.  I will find the strength to pick myself up, dust myself off and face the world head on.  And I will use my strength to help others find their own strength, too.  After all, isn’t that what superheroes do? 

Read the rest of Beka's posts for IBPF here

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Comments

Thank You!!! Could hug you right now. Giving back helps me find purpose and hope. I am just starting on the journey to share my story buy I want people to see that you can have mental illness and be ok even better then ok.

Thank you Beka for sharing your story! I've been struggling with depression for several days now, and reading your story makes me get up every day

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