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Upon talking with someone this evening about mental health issues, I realized he was right about something and wanted to address it.

Mental health issues should NOT define someone. Saying, “I am bi-polar, schizophrenic, A.D.H.D., etc” sounds more like a definition of who one is. When one has cancer, they don’t say, “I’m cancerous.” When one has Cystic Fibrosis, they don’t say, “I’m C.F.” So, why do people so often say, “They’re bi-polar.” or even those with mental health issues say, “I’m schizophrenic.”? I have been guilty of doing this myself. Yet, I do not let any of it define me, control me, or own me.

No more, “I am bi-polar.” or “I am schizophrenic.” I have bi-polar disorder and I have schizophrenia. But like a cancer patient, there are treatments. Though I have gone the traditional medication and therapy route before, that’s no longer my routine. It does work for many and I don’t knock it for those who truly need it. However, in society today, doctors are so quick to dope people up. Medication isn’t always the answer and it’d be great if they would explore all possible options. I stand behind those who truly need to take the medicine to lead a normal life, but not behind those that don’t.

Living with bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia hasn’t been easy. I have had these problems since childhood and at that time, didn’t know what was going on. I was so confused and scared. I didn’t understand why my brain didn’t work properly. Once diagnosed first just with depression and anxiety issues and then later with bi-polar and schizophrenia (as I slowly opened up to one psychiatrist about the voices and visions), I let it beat me. So often, I would use it all as a crutch, an excuse to do the things I did. I have had trouble keeping jobs, friends, boyfriends, relationships with family members going, etc. My mood swings were out of control and I saw no way out, no way to control things. I figured that would be how my life would be, forever spinning out of control. The visions and voices frightened me, to the point I have lost so much sleep over the years and for a long time, no one knew about them, no one, not even family or close friends. Only over the last year have I begun to confide in others about this because I am no longer ashamed. It is a part of me, so I am done hiding it.

Like I said before, I used to take medication for the bi-polar and depression. I have taken so many now, I have forgotten some of them. Some worked, some didn’t. When I’d have a lapse of insurance or just not feel like it, I’d not take them anymore. I’d try on and off to battle my brain without or sometimes I was just tired of trying period. I have also been to more therapists and psychiatrists than I can remember. I will admit, it’s been nice to have a non-biased opinion now and then, someone to talk to who didn’t know everyone in my life, someone who could be objective.

Things are different now. I have successfully lived and battled with it all without medication for roughly four years. In the beginning, I didn’t know how to work around the disorders. I didn’t fully understand them or myself, so I suppose then I needed the help of the medication and definitely the therapy. But, little by little, over the years, as I grew and changed…I learned how to triumph. I decided that I was strong enough to not let it win, not let it beat me, not let it define me. I am so much more than any disorder. My arthritis, bad vision, asthma, etc don’t define me either. What I have or deal with is not me, it’s just a part of me, not me as a whole.

I am Carissa. There are many facets to me. Not one single part can truly tell you who I am. You have to get to know me and see every side of me to really get a good picture. I am many things to many people. I am a mom, a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, an aunt, a friend, a girlfriend, a passerby on the street or at the store, a singer, a writer, a photographer, a bowler, a dreamer, a winner, a loser, a Christian, a believer, a doubter, a listener, a talker, an Empath, and so on. Even with all of that, there is still so much to who I am. So as I first stated, I am Carissa. Not one thing about me will ever define me, even if others out there think otherwise.

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Comments on: "It’s not, “I am” for that would define me…." (15)

  1. This is very well said. I can’t think of a better way to say it in fact. Here is what you are to me, and keep in mind that I am just getting to know you through this world of blogging so there are probably so many more things to be said. You are intelligent, funny, inspirational, honest and the kind of beautiful person that I would be proud on any day, good or bad, to call my friend. This is the kind of post that makes it worth blogging, reading these posts and putting yourself out there to make new friends. Thank you for sharing. also I apologize if you get this comment twice, my browser had a moment and I’m not sure if it posted the first time:)

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    • ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

      *tears up*

      Thank you, thank you so much for the kind words! You have no idea how much what you said means to me. I too am proud to call you a friend. I know my posts can be a bit out there for some, but I firmly believe I need to be me when posting, not hide anything. I have always been the type to wear my emotions and thoughts. I joined this site per suggestion of my friend, she thought maybe I could inspire and help. Knowing I have made even one person smile or helped one person with any post makes this all worth it and so does reading blogs like yours. I love being able to share with one another on here, to help one another, to make one another smile, laugh, feel. Making new friends has indeed been a blessing, so glad for this!

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      • The very thing I enjoy about your blog is that you are you. I’m that way to. I tend to say whatever is on my mind. I have seen enough people come and go who change their personality to fit in. I truly appreciate honesty. Always feel free to say what is on your mind.

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      • ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

        I always do. When someone walks away, so be it. I’d rather have people supporting me, being my friend because of who I am and not just because I said what they wanted to hear, because I’m who they think I should be. I am me, always. šŸ™‚ Keep being you too, love who you are!

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  2. Wow! Girl, first of all, you maze me. I was fascinated with the title of your blog one night, that’s why I started following you. I didn’t know a THING about your being schizophrenic. I only liked that you were honest enough about bi polar. It’s not something lot of people want to admit to.

    That being said…. my step daughter whom I’ve raised since the age of 9 (she’s 21 now) is bi polar with schizophrenic tendancies. I’ve been through complete hell with her, although I love her SO very much. Her father didn’t want ot believe she had anything wrong with her. I had to also fight him to get him to understand that SOMETHING was terribly wrong. Medication is the ONLY answer for her. One day, I’ll blog about it cause it’s really too long to get into here. However, through the years, she went off her medication because like most BP/Schizo people, she didn’t like the way it made her feel. Consequently, she flunked out of college 3 times (and she is a CERTIFIED genius). She lost many jobs, got involved with a nasty bondage (S&M) group, moved into a home with all men… on and on and on. She, by the grace of God, is now married to a man who fell in love with her brilliant side. Although he doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with her. Denial. NOW, she finally wants to get back on her meds. She wants to be happy and is tired of being sad when she knows she should be happy. She’s tired of the mood swings. She still can’t hold a job and is filing for disability. I’m SO happy about this because I think she needs to be on disability and I’m NOT a person who likes using a condition as an excuse. Normally I would NEVER promote the idea of disability.

    I told you all that to ask this: What different avenues are you exploring to keep your condition under control? I’m ALWAYS interested in how different people control their challenges. Maybe it can help my daughter too. What do you do when you hear voices or see things that aren’t there. I’d imagine that if you COULD control these things, you wouldn’t have been diagnosed. During those times, you can’t control anything, can you? PLEASE understand that this isn’t a bad comment. I’m just trying to understand.

    Like the other lady that commented, I LOVE LOVE LOVE how honest you are and also love the way you write! You’re one amazing woman and I look VERY forward to getting to know you better. I also love that you don’t BS your readers. I’m getting SO tired of reading about someone’s tips or about people who really don’t share anything at all about themselves. I’m different that way though. I’m pretty straight forward and don’t sugar coat anything. I don’t TRY to offend people. I just tell MY story, the way I see it so I appreciate you doing the same thing. (((HUGS)))

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  3. ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

    With my visions and voices, I haven’t had a lot of luck in controlling those. They just come out of no where, no one notices because I am able to keep them to myself. I just pray silently, telling the voices to go away. Sometimes they listen right away and other times, it takes longer. Prayer has been a HUGE help for me through all of it actually. My faith has gotten me through so much!!!

    Writing has also helped me a lot. I have been a writer since about 10 years old and it’s always been an outlet, a way to express myself when words fail me. Since learning about my disorders, I began to learn how to channel my mood swings into creativity. I let them fuel me to write, also to sing. Singing has helped me a lot too. Sometimes I have had a rotten day with the mania and just need to sing some angry songs to get it all out. Sometimes singing a sad song and getting myself to cry soothes my soul as I release pent up sadness. Music and the written word are amazing vices to help me through this.

    Friends, having a good circle of people has also been an amazing help. I didn’t used to have such great friends. I once used to surround myself with all the wrong people, just to feel some sort of acceptance and love. But now being surrounded by people who don’t look down on me, who don’t judge me helps an awful lot. My boyfriend has been amazing too. I used to go for men, without thinking about it, that were as unstable as me, if not worse. I am now with someone who is frighteningly stable and that has been huge for me. His stability helps me a lot. Then there a select few friends even that can relate when it comes to being bi-polar and that is huge. When I find someone who truly understands because they go through it too, that’s amazing, to have that connection with someone who won’t just feel sympathy and want to help, but will be empathetic, who will really be able to understand and relate.

    I can’t touch on prayer and faith enough. Again, that has helped me so much. When my moods are swinging out of control, I turn to God for that peace, for the strength to fight them, to overcome it. I don’t know if she is a Christian or even spiritual at all, but if she is, urge her to turn to Him. And, if she has a support system at all, don’t hesitate to lean on them. If she ever wants to talk to someone and doesn’t know anyone who understands, I’d be more than happy to talk to her, be the one who won’t judge and be the one who won’t say, “I understand.”, but not really have a clue as to what’s going on. And again, if she’s creative at all…painting, photography, (which I also do) singing, writing, sculpting, woodworking, anything, she should use those as outlets, to channel her moods into them….it really does help.

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  4. Thanks for sharing Carissa. Honesty is indeed very beautiful.

    I was in a depressive state last year, and I am still recovering so somehow, I can relate.

    “In order to be free, I need to be me” was one of the thoughts that helped me get out of it. And also accepting that I cannot control anything, I just surrendered.

    Like

    • ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

      Being you is definitely important. Though, being able to control your moods is something one can learn how to do. It took me years and a lot of will power, prayer, and the use of my creativity to help me figure things out.

      Like

  5. My favorite author, Emmet Fox, says that “The Truth Always Heals” & this was a very honest & open statement… I love it!!

    Like

    • ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed reading it! Wearing my emotions for all to see is something I’ve always done because it’s who I am. I will admit sometimes I fear people’s reactions, but in the end, I just have to be myself. Those who judge or don’t accept me, their loss and I move on. šŸ™‚

      Like

  6. Oh wow what beautiful butterfly’s ,
    you always find the best quotes, pictures, and posts to tug at my heart strings !!

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  7. Amen! Remember Carissa we already have the Victory over everything through Christ! We just have to wait on the: Miracle of the cure!

    We are more than our diagnosis! Keep going Sister, and remember you have a prayer partner here if you ever need it! šŸ™‚

    Like

    • ramblingsofabipolarwoman said:

      Indeed, through Christ, all things are possible!!! And thank you, I am here to pray with and for you as well!!!! God Bless!

      Like

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