Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Confined By, Defined By, or Refined By?

When life hands you lemons then make lemonade.

Well, personally, I have always preferred the more sophisticated version, "When life hands you limes, make Margaritas!" or, "When life hands you lemons, use the juice to squirt in people's eyes!"

So – hands up – honestly – which of us would have actively chosen to live with depression or bi-polar?

Right... I can count... I can count... Well, not very many of you at all.

Yes, given the choice, we'd rather not have depression, thank you. There were a few bi-polar hands went up – but they're probably part of the sadist/masochism set as well (and I saw you sniggering at the back there!)

Because it does rather put a downer on things, doesn't it?

Looking back, I can't see how I ever managed to hold onto an ordinary job. It certainly makes sense of all the times I was moved on, promoted sideways, made redundant and (twice) asked to resign. Okay, so I am a much, much better image consultant than I was an accountant (a different skill set entirely, my dears), but few employers can put up with a person who needs frequent and extended sick leave with depression and possibly has periods of unreliable judgement and behaviour when on a high.

So, that's an area of confinement. Certain work is not available to me. Besides which, I much prefer working for myself.

What about being defined by our condition?

Well, although I am absolutely open about having bi-polar, I'm not Mary who has bi-polar; I'm just Mary. Asked to define myself this is what I say. "I am a writer and image consultant. I blog for my business and for a mental health website which helps people with depression. I also write romantic fiction. Ah, when I remember, I'm also a wife and mother and one hell of a good friend."

Now, if anyone picks up on the writing for a mental health website then yes, we'll have that conversation. Not unless or until somebody falls over something I've done which means I have to come clean (see Managing Friends 101).

Have I been refined by having this condition?

Well, absolutely; to the point where I cannot imagine the person I would be without it. A lot less compassionate, probably. A lot less tolerant. A lot less humorous because laughing at it and myself has certainly got me through some very bad times. My poor family has been refined by it too – whether they wanted it or not!

So my choice is to make Margaritas, and to write for Moodscope. Writing this blog brings such joy; being a part of this community gives a sense of purpose to having the condition.

I didn't ask for it, but I have totally accepted it and am at peace with it. I (mostly) like the person it has made me into.

If I could wave a magic wand and be "normal" would I?

You know what? I have no idea.

A Moodscope member.