Mental Health Awareness Week, and a 10-Year Anniversary
The following is a transcript of a live video posted on May 7, 2018. Click below to watch video.
Mental health awareness week-going beyond! As we start Mental Health Awareness week, I am celebrating being 10 years mania free. This is my 2nd decade in 30 years with no mania. In order to go beyond the label, I have had to get over my fears and the stigma and shame of #bipolardisorder. From "The Untethered Soul": "Ultimately, the word "beyond" captures the true meaning of spirituality. In its most basic sense, going beyond means going past where you are. It means not staying in your current state. What you constantly go beyond yourself, there are no more limitations. There are mo more boundaries . Limitations and boundaries only exist at the places where you stop going beyond. If you never stop, then you go beyond boundaries, beyond limitations, beyond the sense of a restricted self… To go beyond, you must keep going past the limits that you put on things. This requires changes at the core of your being" My prayer is that you will continue to move Beyond the Label into mental wellbeing. #mentalhealthishealth #naturopathicmedicine #depression #anxiety #suicidesurvivor #medicallytrained #naturallyfocussed
Posted by Christina Bjorndal on Monday, May 7, 2018
I am here today because it’s Mental Health Awareness week and I want to pop on to say hi. I thought I’d do my best to come on every day this week to talk to people about the different ways that you can go ‘Beyond the Label’, which, as you know, is the title of my book.
It took me about 7 years to write this book, Beyond the Label. And a lot of the struggles came from getting over myself. It was struggling with getting over the stigma and the shame of coming out with the label of having bipolar disorder type, 1 and being stuck in the stigma and shame of that label.
In order to move beyond that, I began a coaching process with Nancy Levin, who’s written a book called Jump and Your Life Will Appear. She’s written a few books and that’s one of them. The other book I recommend of hers is called Worthy. It was through her work that I was able to get over my fears of coming out.
Now, I’ve just finished reading, on my 3 rd attempt, another book called the Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. A while ago, my friend Diana gave me this book and I started to read it, and it just didn’t really land. So I put it away and I tried to read it again a couple years ago, and the same thing happened, I just put it away.
Finally, after I finished writing my book, one of my friends Joanne McCarthy, who is an amazing
naturopathic doctor, mentioned that she was reading the Untethered Soul and how much it resonated with her. So I picked up the book again and I made it through the book this time. Actually I’m very happy about that, because it was exactly what I need to hear. I was able to move through it this time and so I just want to share with you a passage in this book that really connected with me, and resonated with the book that I wrote called Beyond the Label.
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, chapter 13.
This chapter is called Far, Far Beyond and it goes like this:
“Ultimately, the word beyond captures the true meaning of spirituality. Going beyond means going past where you are. It means not staying in your current state. When you constantly go beyond yourself, there are no more limitations, there are no more boundaries. Limitations and boundaries only exist at the places where you stop going beyond. If you never go beyond boundaries and limitations, then you never go beyond the sense of a restricted sense of self. To go beyond, you must keep going past the limit that you put on things, and this requires changes at the core of your being”.
So for myself, the biggest issue for me was the stigma and shame of being labeled with bipolar disorder. That was the big black, dark scar that I stuffed so deep down inside that I lived in absolute fear of somebody finding out about it. The irony of bipolar disorder is, especially, with mania, that it begs to be seen. It’s pretty hard to hide mania.
So my hope for you today is that if you’re struggling with your mental health, if you’re depressed, if you’re feeling like life is not worth living, if you’re riddled with anxiety, if you’re struggling with your weight, if you’re a addict in any way, shape, or form, my hope is that you’re able to go beyond the limits that are placed on your either by society, or that are placed there by yourself, because you don’t think you can do it. And here’s the thing I’m here to tell you: that you can do this.
You can do this.
I’m part of several discussion groups around bipolar disorder and the conversation in these groups is very, very limiting. It’s very much the western medical model, which is that, and again I don’t want to get into a discussion about pharmaceuticals, but for me it’s disheartening that you’re told that you’re no different than a diabetic, that you have t take your medication every single day, and that otherwise you will relapse. And listen, I’ve been working through this for over 30 years and I’ve been very quiet, and I’ve been quiet because I’ve been afraid to step out into my truth.
So as we launch into Mental Health Awareness week, this marks the 10th anniversary of my last manic episode.
Last time I experienced mania was in 2008. For the last decade I have been free, but I don’t feel that I’m completely out of the woods. Because I had another decade from 1990-2000 was also mania-free. Now the difference between that decade and this decade was that for 70% of that decade from 1990-2000 I was very depressed. I had 2 very serious suicide attempts. For this current decade there was a suicide attempt in 2009, about which I may talk more, (I haven’t been very public about that), but for the rest of this decade only time will tell. Time will tell.
I really hope that I can live this next decade mania-free. I really hope that what I’ve talked about in my book beyond the label, I hope and I pray in my heart of hearts, that I have cracked this code. And that, in doing so, others can also live a mentally well and stigma-free life as they move forward.
So that’s my message today about moving beyond, about looking at where you might be limiting yourself. About seeing if you can stretch yourself. Seeing if you can make that phone call to a friend. If you’re suffering., maybe you can reach out to that person you know is a support person for you, or, if you know someone in your life that’s suffering, maybe you can reach out to them.
And I’m talking about more than just a phone call. Maybe you have to physically knock on their door, take them a nice meal, or ask them to go for a walk, or sit with them and bring them some tea. Get creative. But go further. Go a little bit further. Stretch yourself.
For myself, stretching myself is doing what I’m doing now. Getting on technology, which is not what I love to do, I’m pretty anti-tech, actually. It’s a necessary evil I guess, so here I am. So thank you for sticking it out with me. I look forward to doing this again!