Bipolar disorder is no joke.
I was diagnosed three(+) years ago, and it’s rocked my world in ways that I could have never imagined, in ways that are hard for me to express and put words to. But even during periods that are down and low, I realize that having mental health struggles has taught me so much and helped me grow immensely.
Even though life would be much easier without facing bipolar depression and anxiety, I am thankful for the lessons it has taught me about mental health and wellness. I am thankful how it has pushed and stretched me in ways that make me better. Here are some of my top takeaways on wellness that bipolar has taught me:
1. Self-love isn’t selfish.
I used to think taking care of myself was overrated and unimportant. I thought taking care of myself meant I couldn’t care for others, and that people would see me as selfish and self-centered.
After pursuing holistic wellness, after taking healthy eating and regular exercise and much-needed therapy seriously, I realize I was wrong. My community has surrounded and encouraged me in my self-care endeavors. In order to fully love and serve others, I must take care of myself first.
2. It’s important to be kind to your mind.
As someone who loves (and is slightly addicted) to social media, it’s easy for me to buy into the idea that beauty is more important than brains. It’s easy for me to see these Insta-models and gorgeous influencers and think to myself, “They have it all. They have everything I want.”
I do believe it’s important to be able to present yourself well. But it’s also important to take care of your mind, to seek holistic wellness by taking emotional and spiritual health seriously, too.
Ways I am kind to my mind include: going outside, having slow Sunday mornings, spending time in the Word, rock climbing, surrounding myself with people who love me well, etc., etc.
3. Bad days happen — to everyone.
During my first year of bipolar disorder, my moods were all over the place. The good days were mostly OK, but the bad days were extremely awful. The bad days also outnumbered the good ones, which were few and far between.
Now when I’m on a streak of good days, I feel insecure about even the tiniest inkling of feeling off. I’m afraid that the off days will turn into bad days and the bad days will turn into dark, depressed days.
But it turns out that everyone has bad days, including and especially those who have bipolar, yet we overcome them all the time. Even the worst of days only last one day each (that’s a mere 24 hours) and then we can go to sleep, wake up and handle the next day as it comes.