Happy or Hypo-manic?

I often have to stop myself sometimes and ask “Am I hypomanic or just really happy?”  At times it is difficult to know where the illness begins and ‘I’ end.  Having bipolar disorder can be confusing, but regardless, I am very happy and I am not concerned about charting this mood.  I facilitated our 25+ women’s group recently and nine people attended.  When it was my turn to share I told the group that I won an award from the National Council out of Washington D.C. for mentorship and our society has been awarded $10,000!  I also get the opportunity to travel with Natasha Tracy from www.natashatracy.com to Las Vegas where I will accept the award.  My amazing new friend Natasha nominated me and I am so grateful for everyone that has supported me in my work. 

Winning this award has prompted me to reflect and I often forget how far I have come.  I recall being 32 and attending a seminar called the Landmark forum where the idea of a Bipolar Babe t-shirt was born.  I always held onto a dream that the world would know my story.  I wanted to share with others so people didn’t have to experience the same things that I went through.  Self-medication, disabling depression, a suicide attempt, and a psychosis that brought me to my knees.  I didn’t have anyone there to guide me, hold my hand, or direct me to resources.  It is amazing to have created peer-support groups where people receive this kind of care and more.  Also, I have been presenting in the classroom as of late, and when I read the kids’ feedback I am reminded of ‘why’ I tell my story.  It’s to let that teen know that they are NOT alone in their struggle, and to encourage another that they can indeed understand mental illness and treat everyone with acceptance, empathy and respect. 

I never expect recognition for the things that I accomplish, but I am thankful that I have received it.  I am happy being the babe and doing my Executive Director thing and at the end of the day I am content…no I am extremely happy in a real and genuine sense and it is amazing.