Historically, this time period was once considered an accurate representation of a significant amount of time. In England, the period was the amount of time a married couple had to be married before a spouse had any claim to a share of inheritable property. In medieval Europe, a runaway serf became free after a year and a day. In the US, when a legal judgment has been reversed a fresh action may be lodged within a year and a day, regardless of the statute of limitations. In neo-paganism, a handfasting (marriage) is considered binding after a year and a day, until that time either party may freely leave the marriage. Many groups require a year and a day of study and practice before one is considered knowledgeable and committed. “A year and a day” has held a special meaning to me for many reasons.
So, imagine my surprise when I realized that today was a very significant “year and a day” for me.
It has been one year and one day since I found myself sitting in a mental institution. It has been one year and one day since I officially stopped working in Corporate America. And it has been one year and one day since my feet landed, not so firmly, on the path that has led me out of the woods and back to myself.
I had forgotten “me” during the Corporate America years; I had become a co-worker, staff member, associate, manager, boss and as my ex-husband once put it, “a brief case carrying, Honda driving, bitch of a business woman” – one small piece of the puzzle explains the “ex” before husband.
I had forgotten the girl who wanted to be a famous author (pen name – Whitney Chabot – I was 11, don’t laugh), own a toy store (The Teddy Bear Express), own a book store (Into The Mystic), be a lawyer, be a princess, be a super hero! I let my dream self go in increments: I wrote off and on and created wild scenarios for fantastical books (there’s the one about 7 guardians in a magical world, with 7 magical pendants, the betrayal of family and the love of soul mates – ahhh). I managed a toy store in the mall for a while and I still collect stuffed animals and the occasional Barbie – most are now in a closet. I’ve never worked in a book store but I own enough books to start one. As for the law degree – I became a legal assistant – less school, faster gratification. Princess – I act like one, does that count? And Super Hero – now that one, I’ve done. As many of you know my alter-ego is Bipolar Chick, the Bipolar Manager!
As Bipolar Chick, I stomp the stigma towards mental illness, I speak loudly and proudly – sometimes from tall buildings – about my experiences with bipolar disorder, I disarm blame and shame with wit and humor, and I am faster than a speeding ignorant remark when it comes to fighting toxic niceness. I AM Bipolar Chick, the Bipolar Manager – I’ve got it and I manage it – it’s the only way for me to get out of bed EVERY day. Okay – I don’t get out of bed EVERY day – but when I stay there it is a conscious choice.
Bipolar Chick’s evolution over the last year and a day has been the stuff of wild mythology. As a nickname that I gave to myself, Bipolar Chick seemed a perfect name for my Super Hero. Bipolar Chick’s super powers began to take shape during a mind numbing relapse that was ten years in the making. It took many months but eventually my super hero self was strong enough to save me from – well – me.
My new found super strength led me to creating a website singing the praises of Bipolar Chick and her mission to “Eradicate the shame, blame and toxic niceness surrounding mental illness”. Super self-confidence has solidified my vision of a world that accepts my illness as if it were any other illness – such as diabetes. Having a super hero alter ego has also made me stronger in my everyday life as just me – Deb – wife, mother, friend and all around awesome chick.
During the last year and a day I have found stabilization, peace and purpose. I have made new friends and reconnected with old ones. I have written the first draft of my first book and have jumped into blogging and poetry. During the last year and a day I have studied and become a Certified Life and Wellness Coach, I have become a business owner and I have remembered many of my long lost dreams.
Now is the time for me to share what I have learned. I offer coaching to all who have a problem to solve, a goal to reach, a dream to make reality. I work with others suffering from bipolar disorder as they climb the ladder towards Bipolar Management. I love being a mentor, coach, problem solver and muse. I want to work with you, to help you reconnect with your Super Hero self. I want to be on your Bipolar Management Team.
Here’s to a wonderful new year and a day – come join me.