Friday, July 29, 2011

Not Normal? Embrace It!

The best advice one of my doctors ever gave me is that I am not normal, so I should stop trying to "be like everyone else." Thank God, because that was getting exhausting!

The more I try to do what other people can do, the worse my illness gets. For instance, it's best if I don't stay up late, or go to bed and wake up at different times each day. That increases my bipolar cycling. When I try to go to conferences where we are up late every night, getting up early, sleeping 3-4 hours a night, I am a wreck. I am also not a morning person so I need to adjust my schedule accordingly. There are a lot of things I need to do to adjust my life so I can stay functional.

The hard thing about needing to structure your life this way is that other people think it is weird, or you are just trying to be annoying. They think the restrictions are just a way to cause problems. But in reality, when I follow all the things I need to do to keep myself stable, I am just managing my illness. It is no different than people with diabetes who have to take insulin and watch what they eat. Or people who have an occupational therapy schedule, medicine schedules, or dialysis. We are all just doing what we need to be healthy, I just wish the things I need to do were as acceptable as what others do who have illnesses they need to manage.

The only thing that is normal a out life, is that no one is "normal." We all have special things about us that we need to navigate. Embrace who you are and work with what you have.


Rev. Katie

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather lived to be 92 and he was very scholarly and open minded. When I told him that I had bipolar disorder, he learned as much as he could about it by going to the library--this was before the World Wide Web. After he had done his research, he told me about all of the great people who had struggled with bipolar disorder and told me to "wear it like a badge of honor." I will never forget that. I think about that moment often.