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Living With Bipolar.

I began blogging about life with bipolar and anxiety disorders this year. Previously, I felt I had to keep quiet about my main mental health condition for fear of stigma, judgement of other people in society. However, I am open about it to close friends and family and wanted to share my story with others through mental health

There are many assumptions that people make about bipolar disorder that are false. The number one I’ve encountered is that bipolar is just mood swings and either being happy or sad, yet it is so much more than that. Hearing people jokingly say, “I’m so bipolar!” sets my teeth on edge. It is in fact a complex, long term condition with sufferers all having different periods of depression, hypomania, mania and stability.

Mental illness, looks like unmade beds, unwashed hair, personal hygiene that somehow gets lost in time… The energy and the will to have a shower, to brush your teeth, to eat something, has long but faded to the back of your thoughts. Time loses all meaning to you. Was that a minute that just passed by, or was it another year? The years are flying by now, with my main goal, in getting better; Feeling so incredibly far from my reach…

Everyone has bad days, where they feel the world is against them or they are down on luck.Lauren’s blog For people with mental health issues, it can be an excruciating and exhausting experience. Daily life is enough of a struggle for us to cope with without additional pressures that poor mental health can bring.

Bipolar disorder is a diagnosis given to someone who experiences extreme periods of low (depressed) and high (manic) moods.

Bipolar disorder used to be referred to as manic depression, and some people still use this term. It can sometimes be called bipolar affective disorder too.

Feeling euphoric, excited, confident, ambitious or adventurous Having racing thoughts, a feeling of not being able to get their words out fast enough, difficulty concentrating on one thing Increased sex drive Excessive or extravagant spending Not feeling like eating or sleeping A feeling of being special, invincible or having enhanced physical and mental abilities In some cases, experiencing symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations or delusions.

Low, or depressive periods share a lot of characteristics with depression. They usually include:

Feeling down, hopeless, empty, upset or tearful Low self-esteem, lack of confidence, feeling guilty or worthless Tired, heavy, sluggish feelings. Lack of motivation and inability to enjoy things Feeling tense, frustrated, agitated Suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Some people also experience ‘mixed’ episodes, where they feel elements of both high and low moods.

Bipolar can make life very difficult. It can disrupt home-life, work, relationships, finances and physical health. If someone has bipolar they will probably experience symptoms to varying degrees for much of their lives. This doesn’t mean they will not be able to live full and healthy lives, however.

During times of high mood, someone might act in a way which seems strange to others. They might make risky decisions or spend money they can’t afford. When someone returns to a ‘normal’ or depressed mood they can feel embarrassed, ashamed or regretful. The risky decision-making can also put them in danger.

Many people believe having bipolar means simply dealing with alternating very high and very low moods, but there is so much more to it. During a manic phase, the person can experience delusional hallucinations, which can be terrifying. During a depressive phase, the person may become very forgetful or indecisive. It isn’t as simple as “today I’m happy, tomorrow I’m sad”. It can be life-threatening. So please, the next time you crack a “bipolar joke” – bear this in mind.

Stressed, young woman covering her face, dark background

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As I’ve Aged.

As I’ve aged…

I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself.

I’ve become my own friend.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4AM or sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love… I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.

So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think.

I don’t question myself anymore… I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

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What Is The Purpose Of Life?

People ask me, “What is the purpose of life?” And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body — but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems: If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.’ But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do.

That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD.