What I'm Doing to Protect My Mental Health as an Anxiety-Ridden Bipolar Activist


“My desire to be informed is in conflict with my need to stay sane.”

I’ve seen this as a meme, and it’s funny — but there’s a measure of biting truth in it for me and others with mental illness. Especially those who deal with grandiosity, or feelings and beliefs of “larger than life,” “most awesome at ____” or my fall back, “I’m going to change the world!” Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes not so much.

In word and deed, it is my responsibility to support my fellow humans. In doing so though, it’s imperative I not lose my mind along the way. There is a unique struggle for those dealing with manic thoughts (see above examples) and need to contain their little activist hearts a bit more than usual these days.

I can get all twisted up in the imagery and words that come across my screen. Obsess on the latest article or terrible thing that’s happening. I can see in my mind’s eye the visuals, real or imagined, of the atrocities taking place. I mostly just try to push them out or imagine flowers or some such bullshit that I learned a dozen plus years ago.

Of course, at the same time as all that goes on, I want to be informed. The problem with that is then I become aware of things. Sometimes really horrific things. Once I’m aware of things I have to do something about them, otherwise I am complicit in the outcome. It’s sort of like the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books, but for anxiety-ridden bipolar activists.

So, going back to staying informed while maintaining “sanity.” I’m choosing one thing to do. Just one. For me and many others, with and without mental illness, the idea of being silent in the face of the potential for devastating tyranny is unthinkable. However, it doesn’t need to be insurmountable if handled with care.

Just choose one thing. Start from there.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Bipolar Disorder

dark face of a man

The 'Hard' Exterior of a Man With Bipolar Disorder

For many, and for me as a man, pride can get in the way when it comes to opening up about my struggles with mental illness. When you are supposed to be strong, and silent, and successful in the societal sense, you shouldn’t project any kind of weakness. But fear is also at work too. [...]
Portrait female person silhouette on white background.

My Life as an Activist With Bipolar Disorder

Activism isn’t easy. It takes dedication, drive, effort, energy and more work than you can imagine. You dedicate yourself to a cause you believe in, putting your entire self, sometimes even more than you think you have inside of yourself, into it. You are the face of your cause, you are in the trenches, you [...]
Woman resting on a couch

Why I Stay in My House All Day as Someone With Bipolar Disorder

Maybe you would call me an introvert. I stay in the house for weeks at a time, never sticking my nose out into the fresh air. I wear pajamas all day, most days. My husband does the grocery shopping, picks up my prescriptions and does most of the other errands. I go out when I [...]
boy looking at a bug

What My Co-Workers Did When My Son Was Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

Our “new normal” began the year my 10-year-old son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And, it was hardly “normal” at all. Life at home was a whirlwind of long days and longer nights, helping calm our son’s manic states: dinners out and far too much money spent, my husband and I tag teaming, trying to [...]