Finding Purpose with Mental Illness

I’ve spent most of my life trying to survive being myself. My brain and I don’t get along far too often. My mood disorder (Bipolar Disorder) smashes itself against my face driving me ever farther backwards into darkness (depression) and fire (mania/anger/anxiety).

When I was in high school, I honestly believed that I had a specific purpose to fulfill in life. Then I developed post-partum depression after the birth of my first child and my world crashed down around me, rolling ever further away from my control.

My control – It never occurred to me that my brain and I were anything but in my control. As the years passed, I focused more on surviving one week after another, and even one day after another. I focused on raising my kids as a single mother. I couldn’t work. Working was a nightmare that terrified me. I was Mom 24/7. It was what I had to, what I wanted to do. I tried to be the best mom that I could be.

At 56 I’m only now learning how my illness has affected my personality, my social skills, and my parenting. My eldest is 27 and I’ve only just now learned these truths. The sadness that comes with this realization grieves me. It rips open the wound in my heart that I’ve tried to keep taped up all these years… Maybe I wasn’t a good parent after all.

I can’t breathe.

The other day I was listening to the podcast called: “Don’t Keep Your Day Job.” After the host concluded her interview with an author, she summed the discussion by listing some “take-aways.”

Two of those take-aways were:

  1. If there’s a book you need to read and it’s not on the shelf – go write it.
  2. There is only one [me] that can speak in [my] voice. People are drawn to us when we are authentic.

Now that I’ve thought about it for a week these are my responses:

  1. I haven’t been able to find a book on Bipolar Disorder (or any book on mental illness) that meets me where I am. Being manic and having ADHD, I find that DBT and ACT workbooks make me crazy. I want answers. I don’t want more lists of what’s wrong with me.
  2. I want a book that inspires me and helps me navigate the mood bombs that are always all around me.
  3. I want a book that helps me learn to cement my feet to the ground.
  4. Teaches me how to be successful in every area of my life. It seems to me that I should be able to apply success principles to all of me, not just the part of me that wants to be financially successful.
  5. Can self-improvement principles like the ones that Tony Robbins teaches be applied to my illnesses?
  6. Inspire me. Don’t be a Double Debbie Downer.
  7. Show me who I can become. Stop focusing on the negative aspects of my illnesses.
  8. Help me find purpose for my life so that I can focus on the good that I can do rather than the negative that I feel.

One thought on “Finding Purpose with Mental Illness

  1. I read your posts with interest and sympathy. It’s been a hard journey. I found this last one particularly good. I’ve looked for a book to help me understand.


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