I recently met a friend who has been coping with bipolar disorder. A person with bipolar disorder will typically experience a pattern of depressive episodes followed by hypomaniac episodes. She shared that her depressive episodes usually last about 8 months while her hypomaniac episodes usually last about 4 months. When I asked her whether the medications (mood stabilisers) help her, she said, “They help to make the mood fluctuations less dramatic but it does not stop the mood swings.”
She said that she manages her mental health condition primarily by focusing on being aware of the thoughts in her mind and exercising self-discipline by controlling the thoughts running through her mind. A negative thought begets a negative thought. She also exercises self-discipline in other aspects of her daily life. She said, “If I cannot bear with the little discomforts in life, how can I cope when I encounter a bigger wave in life?”
I admire how she could be very honest about her own condition and I admire her strength, bravery and resilience. It is easy for people to find excuses for themselves and find fault in other people; it is difficult for people to deal with the issues head-on. Her attitude is “it is the way it is. I am not ashamed of who I am. Now what can I do about it?”
I believe that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. Sometimes things happen for reasons that we don’t know and these things don’t determine your quality of life. You determine your own quality of life by choosing how you react to what happens to you. Sometimes people focus too much on the issues instead of what they can do in face of the issues. The same thing can happen to two persons. One thrives while the other withers.