Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taking a vacation from bipolar

This past week was crazy. I'm still not fully recovered from it. From Monday until Friday I was volunteering at my church's Vacation Bible study and had to watch 12 kids ages 5-7. Didn't do it by myself of course. The whole week was a lot of fun and I still have the songs stuck in my head. VBS started at 8.30am around noon. On top of that I still had to work my regular job 4 of those days from 4pm till midnight. Needless to say I am exhausted still. It was definitely worth it though and I am already looking forward to next years VBS.

Then yesterday I ran across an interesting debate on BeyondBipolar on LinkedIn. The person who started the debate was saying that she would take 'vacations from bipolar disorder. One way [she does] this is to function in organizations that have nothing to do with bipolar disorder.'* Here is my reply to that debate.

To me 'taking a vacation' implies stopping a normal routine and doing something completely different. But isn't the ultimate goal of recovery to have just what she described: enjoying 'normal' activities without the bipolar disorder affecting it, being able to attend social functions, etc? In effect, using her term, achieving a lifelong vacation.

In my opinion as the spouse of someone with bipolar disorder it is about being able to combine his life before the illness started at age 23 and his life now that is still extremely affected by bipolar. We don't go out and advertise his illness but we do not hide it either should it come up or be necessary to explain a particular behaviour. If he attends a meeting for anything he doesn't rush out and say 'I am bipolar and by the way my name is Luke'. No, he introduces himself as Luke, husband and father of two.

Wellness skills should become second nature and be an every day part of life.

*Source: Do you ever take a vacation from bipolar disorder? posted by Dr Jane Mountain, MD

1 comment:

A. said...

I think some people make their whole lives about managing their illness...about being ill in the first place. But it's important to come out of that - to look up and out and be more, see more than just bipolar. It sounds like you and L do that - I know that I do - the majority of people in my life have no idea about my struggle, but there are definitely people that need to be reminded to take a look around.

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