I am a ‘Bi-Polar’ Survivor. “Hmmm..” You might be thinking. Would you tell a person that has been in remission from Cancer, that Cancer is who they are? Of course not. Somehow Society has decided that if your thinking is out of control, it is so much different than if your body is out of control. Having a ‘disease’ mentally, physically or even spiritually is all connected. Those ‘parts’ make us who we are. When ‘parts’ are stressed, there is a ‘disease.’ “How do I know?”, you may ask. Because I am no longer a Bi-polar survivor, I AM now living with ALL the fullness that LIFE has to offer.     

“How can that be? Isn’t it a ‘disease’ that can only be controlled by medication for the rest of your life?” My response, “No.” The psychiatrist that diagnosed me said I would never be able to be off medication. That was over 15 years ago. It was a difficult battle to ‘prove’ my sanity, to become well, and to find the ‘key’ to unlock the ‘madness’, but I was determined. No label was going to define me. Just like having had Cancer or being a Catholic doesn’t define who you are. “What did you do differently that made a difference for you? ” you ask. To put it simply, I was determined to find my own answers. I learned how my body functioned physically, I learned how my thinking affected my physical body and spiritual self, and the correlation between being physically active, having positive thoughts and having a strong belief that I was more than the ‘disease.’      

My story is a story of HOPE! Yes, there is a place for medication. Is it necessary for a lifetime? Not for me. With support from the community, family and friends, we CAN change the stigma. We can become WHOLE together!

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