“Recovery isn’t a beginning or end it’s a journey you take over a life time” M Rubin
Prior to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder I had believed my highs and lows were just a regular part of who I was. I can clearly remember moments when I felt out of control, depressed or even worse suicidal. If you know anything about mental illness imagine what having undiagnosed bipolar disorder mixed with thirty years of self discovery did to my spirit? I felt completely lost, out of control, different, and socially awkward. Friendships came and went, relationships disastrous, and just when I was making progress towards accomplishing my goals something would always arise that knocked me three steps back. I was on the roller coaster from hell and desperately wanted to stop the ride and get off onto solid ground.
Finally at age thirty I was diagnosed with manic depression now known as bipolar disorder. My first reaction, I’m not an unpredictable moody person something was actually out of sync. My second thought was based around the stigmas. And my third naive belief I’d simply pop a few pills and my life would be “normal.” Like many people I was under the misguided impression that recovery equaled me staying highly active and without mood swings. What I neglected to take into consideration was how the unpredictable bipolar monster could take on a mind of its own. It wasn’t long before I realized even when I followed a strict treatment plan an episode could still come crashing upon me. When I was experiencing moments of darkness wrapping around me or the exhilaration of the bipolar illness took over reaching stability and recovery often became an illusion.
I had a decision to make go on accepting I would be forever consumed by a life long illness named bipolar or I could change my vision of recovery equaling a constant state of stability. Since bipolar disorder has neither a single definition of recovery nor any way to measure it we are free to describe what success would feel like. The dictionary’s definition of Recovery is “to return to its original state.” That sounds logical but with mental health how can you determine an “original” state of mind? We know from the moment we are conceived our brains are always in motion learning, growing and changing over our lifetime.
I came to a conclusion if I defined recovery as a continual process and not a final result then even with the limitations or interference caused from bipolar just living would equal recovery. The reality is as long as you are doing all you can to be the healthiest possible you maintain a state of recovery. I’ve also discovered a big part of recovery is in accepting who you truly are, how the illness may affect you and what your personal outlook on life was.
By accepting Bipolar + attitude = recovery you give yourself the freedom to experience the “state” of recovery everyday. Recovery isn’t a beginning or end it’s the journey you take over a lifetime.
Marcy Rubin is a Professional Life Transition & Recovery Coach at Make-Life-Rewarding Coaching. http://www.MarcyRubin.com Her unique perspective on bipolar comes from the combination of her personal life growing up with undiagnosed bipolar, professional coach training along with client experience, time mentoring and hours spent researching the illness. Marcy is respected among the bipolar community for her passion and drive to speak openly about her illness. She knows she can make a difference. Marcy invites you to Be A Voice by joining her at http://www.BipolarUnited.com a special group made up of everyone in the bipolar community.