Art, music, modelling, and crafts – these are just some examples of activities that people with bipolar disorder have been using as personal therapy. I enjoy all of these creative outlets, but there are two things in particular that I have been doing to keep myself sane and sound: reading and writing.
I have loved books my entire life; I am voracious in reading. I read tons of books during elementary school, high school, and through onto college. I used to buy about four books a month which had increased my book collection to up to almost 500 books with numerous titles and various authors, but mostly, I loved collecting classic literature.
Unfortunately this treasured collection was washed away by the typhoon “Ondoy” during the time of my first relapse in 2009. The typhoon had taken away my books, and my illness had separated me from my love of reading. For a few years, I had no connection to, or desire for, books.
It was not until last year, in 2015, that I started to see a new light in my book reading hobby again. I was given a chance to work as a teacher here in the Philippines, and it sparked my desire to read. I again embarked in hitting the library to be reunited with Robinson Crusoe, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and many others, including one of my newest favorite authors, Adeline Yen Mah.
With reading, I began wanting to write again, which had been a long dormant hobby as well. International Bipolar Foundation has given me the chance to be a blogger on their site, and since, I have become more and more interested in writing. In fact, it has become part of my therapy as it allows me to express my feelings and emotions freely and share my thoughts and ideas without inhibitions.
Reading and writing has given me the chance to calm myself during panic attacks, ease my mind during the times I have racing thoughts, and even help to treat my paranoia and anxiety.
When I start overthinking, worrying, and being anxious, I either grab my “Chinese Cinderella” story book borrowed from the library, read laboriously on Confucianism, or re-read The Odyssey over and over again. Actually, I will use any book on hand until I relax. When I start feeling the ups and downs of my moods, I grab my laptop and begin writing numerous essays, blogs, and even books to have published.
Now, I know that reading and writing are my best friends in helping me cope with this illness. They are good companions in combating depression and mania. I may not travel much or see other people live their daily lives, but reading gives me the opportunity to gain a whole lot of information about the people living without bipolar disorder. At the same time, writing helps me communicate with these people and give them the chance to better understand what it is like to have bipolar disorder. Along with being a part of my therapy, I hope my writing will stop stigmas and raise awareness.
So, how about you? What is your self-therapy? Why not try reading and writing?
Read the rest of Rome’s posts here.