Scott Inside Out’s last post about the lone tree (http://www.scottinsideout.com/2013/05/the-lone-tree-part-1/) focused on support. When I look at lone trees I also see that of choosing to live and really fighting for it. Trees that are located in areas with high winds are typically the strongest trees. Those of us who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder have had some intense experiences that some people simply cannot imagine or relate to. I see those occurrences in the same sense as the tree for the wind. They have made me stronger.
I used to feel a lot of shame that I’ve been in a psychiatric hospital at different times as a direct result of manic episodes. It was embarrassing to think that I’ve been an inpatient three times in my life. While working on myself in focusing on shame and embarrassment, I came to a realization. If I had been in the hospital three times for another life-threatening illness like cancer, and came out the other side, other people might praise me for that and truly view me as a survivor. In my experience, persons with bipolar disorder are often looked down upon when they state that they’ve been in a psychiatric hospital more than once in their past.
I feel that bipolar disorder is a life-threatening illness since statistics say that one in three people with bipolar disorder attempt or complete suicide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipolar_disorder). I am very grateful that I never attempted suicide at any point in my bipolar journey.
During each of my hospital experiences I made the choice to live. I now view myself as a survivor. And now that I’m increasingly proactive with my overall mental health, I do not envision a psychiatric hospital stay in my future…
For those of you with bipolar disorder reading this, how do you frame your previous hospital experiences if you’ve had one? Do you feel shame? Or do you see it as part of your journey that have made you stronger?
Connect with Scott at http://www.scottinsideout.com and https://www.facebook.com/scottinsideout2.