Day 09: Are there any benefits to bipolar for you?
As with everything in life, there are always good things and bad things. Ice cream tastes delicious (good thing) but has a tendency to increase the size of your waistline (bad thing). Owls are noble, good-looking b’stards (good thing) but have a tendency to freak people out when they turn their head all the way round (bad thing). Paper is a useful material for writing things on (good thing) but has a tendency to cut you in such a way you’ve never felt pain of the like of it before (bad thing). The trick to life is being able to pinpoint the good things amidst the sea of badness that often floods our contemporary life. Some people can do it (good thing) other people only ever focus on the negative (bad thing).
I’m one of the former people. No matter what is happening to me, I am always trying to find the good things out of an experience. With PTSD, however crippling it may be (bad thing), it allows me to remember in detail everything that ever happened to me, so if I was ever to give evidence in court about that particular time in my life I could do so without fail or fear of misremembering (good thing). With social anxiety, however crippling it may be (bad thing), it allows me to be a highly emphatic individual who is deeply caring and considerate toward other individuals (good thing).
Similarly, bipolar affective disorder, however much it is seen as a bad thing by wider society (which it can be), has a wide array of benefits that has the propensity to take the suffering out of things.
For example: if it weren’t for the heady giddiness of a manic phase (bad thing) I would never have met my friend Samantha (good thing). If it weren’t for the madness of my multiple suicide attempts (bad thing) I would never have become as knowledgeable about the subject as I have (good thing). If it weren’t for how sex obsessed I become whilst manic (bad thing) I would never have given as much cunnilingus as I have (good thing). If it weren’t for the self-harm I sometimes indulge in (bad thing) I would never have begun my quest to draw intricate artworks onto my body in red pen (good thing). If it weren’t for the crippling lows of a depressive episode (very bad thing) I would never have started writing this blog (very good thing).
But more than anything, for me, the major benefit of bipolar affective disorder is the state that is known as hypomania. Sure, it’s one step below a manic phase (bad thing) but when I’m hypomanic I’m confident (good thing), productive (good thing), talkative (good thing) and debonair (good thing). My creative juices are at their maximum (good thing). I’m able to focus my energies on meaningful activities (good thing). I can multitask like a demon possessed (good thing). And I’m irresistible to women (good thing) and able to indulge in sexual activities that my social anxiety would otherwise hinder (good thing). In fact, when I’m hypomanic, however exhausting this state can be (bad thing), I’m much more likely to be the Addy I’ve always dreamed of being (good thing), the Addy that I would be proud for people to meet (good thing).
So if you’re someone who always looks at the bad things in life, who always seeks out the negative in everything, who obsessives over what has gone wrong rather than what has gone right, I strongly suggest you do a little bit of work to change your thinking. There is nothing like finding the positive amidst an ocean of terribleness, it enriches your life, it puts a smile on your face and allows you to walk with your head held that little bit higher each day.
And if a bipolar affective disorder suffering, PTSD haunted and social anxiety crippled individual such as myself can do it, anyone can!
So why not try it? :-)