March 30 marks World Bipolar Day, an initiative started in 2014 and aimed at challenging this stigma by changing global perceptions about what it means to have bipolar disorder. Spearheaded by the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder, the International Bipolar Foundation and the International Society of Bipolar Disorders, World Bipolar Day falls on the birthday of Vincent van Gogh, who scholars suspect struggled with the illness. – (Source)
We all talk about various disorders, we talk about various ailments, why don’t have the courage to talk about issues related to mental health? Do you know according to the World Health Organization, India is one of the most depressed countries in the world with a whopping 36% of Indians likely to suffer from major depression at some point in their lives – (Source) Last time when I researched the numbers were stating 20%. The margin is alarming. We need to stop thinking about the taboos related to mental health issues and work towards the betterment of people who are fighting mental disorders.
When the psychiatrist, whom I am consulting, diagnosed me with bipolar type 2, I was shell shocked. There were days where I have thought to run away from reality and there were days when I wanted to succumb to it. But something inside me have told me to thrive. I am thriving bipolar days.
How am I thriving? Sheer acceptance of what I am, regular medication & counselling sessions. A good read on my condition too helped in creating awareness. I was able to distinguish what is right and wrong, what is good and what is bad, what works and what will not work for me. I cannot meditate with my eyes closed, hence I watch how beautifully my pet fish swims. This is also one kind of meditation is what my doctor said. I even have a colouring book to calm my anxiety. I hangout with meaningful people who add value to my life and help me stay calm.
The moment I accepted myself, I knew I need sometime for myself. People like me need to have their self occupied. But I needed break from work and I needed to concentrate on my health. People at my workplace were considerate and kind enough. My boss agreed to approve my sabbatical request.
It is okay to tell that you have bipolar but it is not okay that you get mocked. Remember there will be people who will accept you and there will be people who will not understand. It is better to not retaliate. Just be yourself and do not self pity. Self pity is the worse thing that can happen to you. I am also practising yoga these days. It is helping me a lot. Every inch of my muscle is happy to stretch.
Go find your door to reality and embrace it. With this post I urge fellow people who are like me and also those who like to tag them as “normal” that, let us stop this tagging mental health issues with taboos. Let us make this place a better space to live.