Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Living with confidence

It takes great effort trying 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 and live 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, "to hell with them". We know we're ok people.

The tough thing is that, when a person needs to keep something like this secret, it breeds a feeling of shame within himself. How can we possibly win?

I pray that there will be a day when society will be better educated and understanding of what mental illnesses truly are, diseases that happens to affect 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 absolutely no shame. I only talk about my disorder when there's a reason for doing so. But it has become more and more 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!

9 comments:

jane said...

Reading this almost made me cry. I've done just the opposite as you. I used to be very open & honest but because of people being judgemental or those who would quit talking to me suddenly, I no longer tell people I meet in person that I'm bipolar.
I love that quote.
If people realized that bipolar disorder was no different than epilepsy or alzheimers, perhaps they wouldn't see us as such social freaks.
I do find it interesting that you are okay with yourself, yet you are so angry with society. I think that's a good anger because there are people with our illness who aren't okay with themselves, such as myself. We really need someone like you who will put a normal face to this disease.
Thank you

Dobro said...

Amen, Sister!
But,as Pat (my hubby says)---it is the other people's loss not to have been able to look outside of their comfort zone box and see the special kind of humans we are.

Dream Writer said...

My opinion - people lack knowledge and are not interested in wanting to know more. But hell or high water if it happened to them...LOOK OUT!

What I have learned in my life is that if they want to judge who needs them...I know who my true friends are.

keweis said...

In all honesty, I truly believe that it's this disorder that has brought me to Christ. I was the biggest atheist about 5 years ago and then when the depression hit and I tried fighting it on my own I realized that it was pointless. It wasn't working. I was powerless to the disorder including the drugs and alcohol in my life. I believe that by coming to faith in Christ and surrendering my life to Him that that is the reason I'm sober on meds. and alive today. I couldn't do it on my own. Thanks for the post! God Bless!

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:12

Sarah said...

I look up to you more than oyu know...... this journey has only recently begun for me but I wanna have you around as long as I can
crap I wish I still lived in burnaby
i was near burnaby lake park....

i havent been having the best days lately but i know i'll be able to communicate better when I snap out!!
thanks Marja! (Btw are you from norwegian decent?)

marja said...

Thank you, jane, dobro, Terri, Kevin, and Sarah for all your remarks. I truly appreciated all of them.

Sarah, I wish you were here as well. And my name is Dutch.

Kevin, It seems to me that my courage to speak out began after I started following Christ. Knowing that God loves me, no matter what, and having the support of my church family has done much for me. But it all happened gradually, as my faith matured.

jumpinginpuddles said...

well done but surely there are times when people talking about you does get to you ?

marja said...

Jumpinginpuddles: I'm never aware of people talking about me. I know some of my friends do, but only with a sense of concern if they see I'm heading in the wrong direction. That makes me feel cared for.

The thing is, I'm 60 and have accomplished a fair amount with my life. If I sense that some people are talking about me, that really does not matter to me at all. As they get to know me better, they will treat me with respect. I "live so that none will believe" what they hear about me.

The important thing is to believe in yourself, stand up straight, and face the wind. With time a person can learn to do that. (And a lot of time has gone by for me. Did I mention I turned 60 this year? So proud of that.)

Dream Writer said...

Amen Marja! At 40 I feel the same way!!!