Would You Opt Out of Mental Illness, if You Could?

by Carley Cooper  Click to download this pic on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m writing a book about my life.  In my research I watched a documentary called The Stephen Fry Story: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (Click here to watch the 2 hour documentary ).  It’s a fascinating portrait of Bipolar Disorder.  It can help those of us who have it feel not so alone, and the people who love us understand us more.

Where Do You Fit In?

The greater general population travel down a standard ‘road’ in terms of their moods and personalities.  The bigger personalities often wander all over the road from side to side, but they are still within the borders of ‘normal’.  People with Bipolar Disorder go way beyond those boundaries on both sides of that road.  It is a very difficult life which can be dangerous in either direction.  Like most with this disorder, and as much as I have desperately and painfully longed to be ‘normal’ all my life, I can honestly say that my view has changed.  As it turns out, ‘fitting in’ and being ‘normal’ are two different things.  Wow! Who knew?!  What I actually wanted was to fit in.  Honestly, one of my biggest fears, even in the midst of my faith, is that God will bring me through this disorder and out the other end to finally leave it behind; only to find ‘normal’ is boring or restrictive.

It’s OK to Be You

I have learned that the stigma placed on me, or that I’ve picked up myself, is not who I am.  So much of the negative thinking in my head, was not my own.  It was false, uneducated, shameful, fearful myths.  Our words are instruments of destruction, and are among the most dangerous weapons in the world.

I was told once “You do not know how to count your blessings, because if you did then you wouldn’t be depressed.”  This kind of uneducated lie is exactly the kind of myth that the public needs to be taught the truth about.  Sufferers know that judging others by their appearance, words, actions, lifestyle, sex, culture, age, size, or mental illness is about as efficient as judging a book by its cover.  The world needs to know this too.  Once we can escape the barriers that are preventing progress, relationships will improve, needed medical attention will happen; healing will take place.

Enjoy Who You Are

Stephen Fry said “I asked many of my fellow Manic Depressives… if they could press a button to release them from their Bipolarity, would they do so?  Most, despite traumatic moments in their life, said ‘No’.  So, after all this, what would I do?  I wouldn’t press the button and live a normal life; not for all the tea in China.”

I say “I agree with you Stephen.  I wouldn’t press that button for anything in the world.”

What about you…What would you do?  Would you choose to opt out of your mental illness?  Share in the comment section.

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