By: Laura Sanscartier
“I feel fantastic!”
“Life is so good!”
“Look at how well I’m doing!”
Have you seen a status like this on Facebook or Instagram and felt revulsion toward the person who wrote it? Believe me, I’ve been there.
For many people, wellness means that life couldn’t get any better, and is skyrocketing. But for those of us with bipolar disorder, wellness is different. Sometimes it’s remembering to take our meds. Sometimes it’s remembering to shower. Sometimes it’s taking a look at what’s been going on and saying “Am I headed to mania/depression?”
I’ve just gotten out of a 3-week stay in the hospital for suicidality and various accompanying symptoms. While I was treated well and had a healthy experience, I was not well. I came out of the hospital and started to put my life back together again. And still, I was not well. I went back to work, and everyone was quite kind and understanding. I was not well. Christmas came and went, and I was starting to feel the littlest bit more myself. Finally, two days after New Year’s, I felt healthy, I felt myself, I felt well. I was taking meds at my regular scheduled times, I was showering regularly, I was happily kissing my husband good morning and good night, and work was starting to take on its regular routine.
How does one achieve wellness? Well, you might as well ask me how to get to the moon, because it’s never the same for any two people. The path to wellness is one that takes a lot of work, and a pinch of fairy dust. Asking for help from others is a huge component, and that can be the hardest part. Once I finally asked my husband for help to get me into the hospital, my road to wellness began again. And I mean AGAIN. The path to wellness has so many bumps and twists and turns, but it is possible to get to, and keep on, for long periods of time.
So, the next time you see one of those posts online, think to yourself: “I’m on my path to wellness too. I’m going to go join them.”