Friday, December 29, 2006

Does BiPolar make you stronger?

If you look at the poll I set up in my right side bar, the resounding answer seems to be yes.

Which puts me personally in the least popular choice - I can't make this decision.

Why not? Well maybe its the philosopher in me, but I reckon the question depends on how you define "stronger".

In some ways I am stronger for sure. Like...

  • No matter how bad things get, I know that at some point they'll get better
  • As a result of this, I'm able to batten down the hatches and ride just about anything out
  • I'm more used to coping with life disappointments. Life's not perfect, nor am I.
  • I'm more able to empathize with others that suffer from health disorders, mental or otherwise
  • I don't take anything for granted
  • I've totally accepted who I am, and don't try to be anything else. Like it, or lump it.
But in other ways I'm weaker:
  • I'm very quick to excuse myself when I don't fulfill certain duties (on account of my illness)
  • Since my diagnosis I don't push myself as much as I used to
  • I set lower goals for myself than I would otherwise set
  • I tend to get very self-absorbed in my own mind and mood analysis
  • I get lazy
  • I can sometimes be a bit of a hypochondriac ( I think)
So that's why I can't make the decision.

Which could also reflect my crablike tendency to hover to and fro (being the good Cancerian that I am). Or my latent schizophrenic mind that gets snared in a schism like a rabbit at night in a car's headlights.


  1. I am in none of those "camps" the more I ponder your poll.

    I have always been a strong and independent person. I have been politically active in the teacher's union and a pioneer in human rights activism.

    Being diagnosed as being a Bipolar II less than six months ago, in retrospect I have always been bipolar.

    Did IT make me stronger?

    Well, my inner strength has aided me in coping with the brain dysfunction.....

  2. Well, whatever doesn't kill you...

    For once I'm in the majority, but then again I've been med-free for nigh on ten years now.

  3. i am holding up 2 cars with one hand right now

  4. Maybe what would help you make the decision is figuring out how much importance you put on either the 'pro or con' statements.

    For one thing, I think you have very well stated and I feel that both sets of statements are truthful. It is important to state clearly just what are the strengths that we experience with the illness, and I agree with you also on the weaknesses, some of which I have been mulling around in my mind, but it is so nice to see confirmation on your list. I too, am afraid to push myself or have to perform. I have been thinking about that a lot since I quit my last job in April '06, and am loathe to work for 'the Man' again. I am trying to find a way to work for 'the Woman,' me, if I have to work at all. Hmmm, is that lazy? I've been asking myself that.

    But to really get to the point, I am certain what this illness has done for me. (Notice I didn't say 'to me.') My psychoses were such horrible experiences, the mere fact that I survived them and have thrived so personally, is proof positive to me that I am in fact a very strong person. Wouldn't have known that with such certainty without it. And since that knowledge matters more to me than any of the petty cr*p of what I'm going to actually do with my life, I vote: I'm a stronger person!! Doesn't mean it's easy, doesn't mean the lows don't suck, but if you just consider those things as something to get thru while trying for a better path of joy then it seems a no-brainer!

    Okay, I hope you have fun on NY's Eve and a fantastic wonderful New Year, if I don't get to tell you before then, BP Guy!
    All my best,

  5. I have always been a very strong person. Learning to stay calm when I'm going through a dangerous mood-swing, well, that has only convinced me that I am.

    Happy New Year BPG. :)

  6. well, in my experience, as if leaving out those words, i could authoritatively give an account of someone else's experience, i have found out that whenever i believed myself to be one way or another, i was as far from truth as possible.

    when i went around proclaiming "i am strong" and "can deal with everything" i soon lived long enough to find out that in fact i was just lucky to not encounter enough shit to bend (and break) me like a straw.

    when i went around proclaiming that "i am balanced" and "so totally centered" i found out later that there is no center really and being centered is yet another pretty cliche that people like to say.

    but if there's any consolation, i am a negative, cynical bastard, so if it makes your ego all fuzzy and warm, by all means, center yourself and stoically weather all adversities life throws your way, as if becoming stronger is anything different than becoming weaker.

    to answer your poll, my bipolar experiences are no different than any other. some of them are joy and bliss, some of them are pain and terror. i do not believe they made me stronger or weaker, they simply made me into who i am at this particular moment: a more experienced asshole.


  7. happy happy new year
    may it be a blissful one

  8. Happy New Year Everybody. I completed the Edinburgh New Years Day Triathlon in the slowest time ever (2 hours) but 5 months ago I doubt I could have completed the walk to the swimming pool!

    I hope adversity is take as a challenge and the good times in life are recognised fully by everyone.

  9. I very much agree with you. In some ways I am emotionally stronger (now that I'm appropriately medicated), have a depth of character that I don't know if I would have otherwise had. But I haven't accomplished as much with my life as I think I might have otherwise. There are certain dreams I have given up on (like the Peace Corp). There are many of life's normal experiences that I have missed out on. And so, while in some ways my soul is very old, in other ways I am very young for my age.


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