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It May Not Be Your Choice, But It Is Mine

Sunday, March 17, 2013

There have been many times I've been sucked into the depths of hell, sometimes from my very lucid bad decisions, sometimes from my neurons not firing the way another person's may fire, sometimes I've been thrown in by another, and sometimes it just happens.

There are times I see the world in black and white, other times I see it in full, vivid technicolor. There are blessings, and curses, that are attached to me as a person living with a disorder too often misunderstood, and feared, by the world in general.

What I've come to understand in the last few years, the years that I've grown enormously as a person, as well as dropped the ball time and time again, letting down not only those around me, but myself as well, is that no matter what affliction I've inherited I have to realize that I have to take full responsibility for those times, as well as the times others have intentionally, or not, given me a little nudge, into that hellish depth of darkness and demons.

I can't always control what happens in my life, or what others choose to do that affect me, but I am trying to ensure I accept responsibility for my reactions in those times. It's not always easy, or evident, to me at the time what I need to do, but it is something I work toward on a daily basis, and truthfully, I still kind of suck at it.

Even though there have been times that, purely by the luck of the draw, bipolar has controlled my abilities to see things clearly, and has been the cause of choices I made, I can't place sole blame on it.

It's my responsibility to keep myself in check. It's my responsibility to control something that all too often tries to control me. I made a firm decision, many years ago, not to play the victim card. I also made the choice to share my journey with the world, to come out of the shadows and take control of my life, and hopefully allow people to see that, while sometimes I do struggle, I'm really no different than they are.

Someone said to me the other day that I'm happy, outgoing and friendly with people that "don't matter" in my world, those outside the circle of the family core, and that I rarely allow people, those so called unimportant people, to see me when I'm at my worst.

I chose to try not to let bipolar be the puppet master, not to control my life and not to be a crutch on which to blame my failures. I made a choice to attempt to break the stigma, and attempt to take control of something I had no choice in being afflicted with. I don't always succeed, but I try.

I try not to allow the times I experience the dark realities of the disorder to be seen by others that "don't matter." Those are the times I've learned to rely on a very select group of people to lean on. That group does not include the entiriety of family, but is made up of people I trust to know that it's a momentary glitch in time and not the sum total of who I am.

I do believe that it is my responsibility to be outgoing, to be friendly, to smile, to attempt to understand that which I don't, and to respect those around me in this world we all occupy. The truth is that those people that "don't matter," really do matter. If I only help one person see that labels are not always something to be feared, I've accomplished what I set out to do. If I can encourage others that are afflicted, as I am, that they can take control of their lives, that they can be accepted, that they can lead a productive life, then I've done so much more than I set out to do.

I don't always succeed, I don't always reach my goal, I don't always make the right choice, but I can say with confidence that I try, and I will continue to do so.



Pat March 18, 2013 at 8:23 AM  

You are doing an amazing job in a) getting the word out that you are a normal person even though you are bipolar, b) you smile through the good times and bad, and c) you are educating those of us who have no idea what being bipolar means. Thank you for that.

Outcast March 18, 2013 at 10:47 AM  

Get in there Diva! This is exactly the kind of speech that is important, the truest thing to hold onto during times of low moods in depression, honestly next time you feel bad you should read this over and I reckon it will help. You've been through a lot in your life but honestly it's helped you as a person, bad things are by definition bad but at the same time they build character and experience, everything's going to end up alright!

Susie - Walking Butterfly March 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM  

I know that you are going to get a very long column of readers telling you that you are doing it just right and I agree with them!
You HAVE shared the ugly with us, and you have shared the beautiful and we love everything about our favorite diva!
I also believe that you are changing the view and stigma of bi-polar and all it involves. You're doing it Teri!!
Yay you! Love you from one of the so-called "unimportant people". Ha!

Tami March 18, 2013 at 5:22 PM  

One of your statements struck me. I can put on a good face and be 'happy' around people in general, but when it comes to my family… they see the worst parts of me. Why does it have to be like that? Is it because we let our walls down around the ones we love?

The Bipolar Diva March 18, 2013 at 9:18 PM  

I tend to withdraw and stay in my room when things are a little "iffy." I feel that if I allow them (my family) a glimpse into my experiences, it only burdens them. So I just go off radar.

Sparkless March 24, 2013 at 3:55 PM  

You are not your disease and it doesn't define you. I think some people make their entire lives around their illnesses and it limits who they can be. You have not done that and that is so empowering!

The Bipolar Diva March 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM  

I agree with you, too many times people just give into it and not control it....I choose not to, well, as best as I can! Thank you!!

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