(September 26, 2006)

It takes great effort to live with good self-esteem when the disorder we have is so stigmatized. It’s so utterly unfair that we, who through no fault of our own, have a disease and have to hide it, living in shame. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts you will know how angry I am about this.

But what if we were to not feel so ashamed about it? What if we were to recognize how wrong society is about us and say to ourselves, “the heck with them”. We know we’re ok people.

The tough thing is that keeping something like this secret breeds a feeling of shame within. How can we possibly win?

I pray for a day when society will be better educated and more understanding about mental illnesses, diseases are simply affecting one of the organs of our body. And it just happens that this organ controls thinking and feelings.

I found a quote recently – don’t know who wrote it but thought someone might be inspired by it:

“If anyone speaks badly of you, live so that none will believe it.”

In my own life, I began speaking out about my bipolar disorder ten years ago. I think that writing about it and having a book out helped people respect me. If there are any who think I’m strange because of it, I don’t notice it. This has put me at an advantage in many ways. I feel no shame. I only talk about my disorder when there’s a reason for doing so. It has, more and more, become my life’s work to raise awareness. It is my passion.

I don’t know and don’t care if people are speaking badly of me. Maybe some do. But I stubbornly live, being the person God made me to be – myself.

How I wish this would be possible for everyone who has to live with bipolar disorder!