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8 Things to Be Thankful For If You Have a Mental Illness
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States and many of us have a lot to be thankful for. Living in a free country, one that allows for equality for people of different religions, races, and sexualities (we’re getting there) is just one. Of course, we’re all thankful for our family and friends and many other things too.
But what about our bipolar disorder? Is there anything to be thankful for about our illness? I know it may sound a little crazy, but there are things to be thankful for if you have bipolar disorder.
With Bipolar Disorder, I’m Still Thankful
Now, don’t get me wrong: if I could choose to have bipolar disorder or not to have bipolar disorder, I would choose not to have bipolar. But none of us get that choice. We just have bipolar disorder, period.
So, given that, here are a few things to be thankful for with regards to having bipolar disorder.
- I’m thankful I’ve had a full spectrum of human experiences: because people with bipolar disorder have been to depths that others haven’t and heights that others haven’t, we have a richer and fuller view of what it is to be alive.
- I’m thankful for my empathy: because we have experienced what it’s like to have a brain illness, most of us have more empathy for others than your average person.
- I’m thankful for my creativity: bipolar disorder is correlated with higher levels of creativity than in your average person. I’m thankful I get to express myself in creative ways.
- I’m thankful for my insight: many people walking around don’t have insight into what it’s like to be themselves or even what it is to be human. I have bag-fulls of this insight as it’s required in order to successfully deal with a brain disorder.
- I’m thankful for my coping skills: I have spent years working on skills that I can use to deal with bipolar disorder and life at large. Often, these skills surpass what the average person possesses. This can mean more resilience against the difficulties of life.
- I’m thankful for my support system: you don’t fully know your bonds until they have been tested and bipolar will test them immensely. But the upside of this is that I know those remaining connections are real and longstanding.
- I’m thankful for my healthcare team: others may have the advantage of not needing a healthcare team, but I do, and I’m very thankful they are there, standing behind me, working to make me better every day.
- I’m thankful for bipolar treatment: without the treatment I use every day, I likely wouldn’t be alive for this Thanksgiving. I’m incredibly thankful for all the scientists working to create the treatments that have saved my life.
Seriously, Thankful for Bipolar?
So I may not be thankful to have bipolar, per se, but there are things that bipolar has brought into my life that I am thankful for and at this time of the year I think it’s important to recognize those things.
(And, for extra, bonus Thanksgiving points, go tell your doctor, “thanks for treating me.” He or she will appreciate that more than you could know.)
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