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July


Confined By, Defined By, or Refined By? Wednesday July 22, 2015

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.

Mary
A Moodscope member.


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Comments

PWD Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 6:20am

A great post Mary, you are a great writer. I don't like reading, I get bored and my mind wanders so can't read for long but your style of writing is superb. Keep it up.
Paul

Anonymous Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 6:46am

Hi Mary you are definitely one of life's enhancers. Thank you so much for your wisdom and humour. Ellie xox

Anonymous Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 7:25am

Hopefully I will be at peace with it some day as you are, Mary! Your sense of humour and your style of writing helps me a lot to achieve it.
LOVE Dodo

The Entertrainer Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 9:00am

Another great read, Mary
L'xx

Hopeful One Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 9:14am

Hi Mary- a lovely heart warming blog of one who has come to terms with her condition and is now able to blossom and freely express to our delight and education.

Jac Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 9:19am

Morning Mary. I hope the sun is shining for you and thank you for bringing sunshine to me this morning. I don't think I have bipolar so I found it interesting to read your thoughts. I am convinced from what I have seen and read that people who do have bipolar also have something else, very special and it would be lovely if this helped balance the scales.

Joanne Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 9:48am

Having come out as bi polar a few years ago I recently realised that I always said 'I am bi polar' a statement which on reflection defined the whole of me as being this condition. I now say 'I have a bi polar diagnosis' it might only be a small shift in language but seems to make a huge difference in my head

greenjean Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 11:09am

Thank you Mary for your words and ability to see the humourous side of bi-polar. I very much endorse your idea that we should 'embrace it' (sometimes easier said than done) but so important to look for the positives in every situation. Keep writing, you are such a help to Moodscopers, bless you

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 11:18am

Joanne, you are so right. For me there is a huge difference between saying "I am bipolar" and "I have bipolar. The former seems to be more of a victim state whereas I can own it and take responsibility for it with the latter.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 11:20am

To everyone this morning who has said nice things - thank you so very much. Your support and encouragement is gratefully, immensely gratefully, received.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 11:25am

"Confined, defined, refined". You are just brilliant, Mary. Thanks always. susan xx

Leah Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 11:28am

Mary,
I am interested and pleased for you that you "have totally accepted it(bipolar) an am at peace with it"
For many people with bipolar they will never achieve this peace and acceptance.
I have accepted I have it but in all honesty could not say totally for me that is a goal I aspire to but will never reach. As for peace, I don't think I am at peace with much in my life as I tend to question things- but that is me.
Interesting to read another person's understanding of bipolar and to know how in many different ways people experience the same label.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 1:11pm

Dear Mary,
As usual, you writing is inspirational. I can count. I do count. I got into two drunken arguments last night, but remember both clearly. I will share.
Three fashion students and I began talking in a bar. I began flirting with one of them, but it was reciprocated, so things were going well. The other female then began a character assassination on me, getting louder and louder. I fought my corner, getting louder too. The young bar manager came over and warned us both to keep the noise down. Quiet arguing ensued, whilst the girl and guy cringed a few metres from us. I walked off, ordered a pint at the bar, apologising diplomatically to all the staff. The manager came over a few minutes later. No reprisals at all.
Later, in a different bar, I asked a girl for a cigarette. She turned to her friends and they provided me with one. She then talks about her female lover and we chatted, then hugged a parting hug. Several minutes later I was accused of "inappropriate behaviour" by the girl and her male friend. I argued my corner, but walked inside. I'd forgotten my library book. By the time I'd politely asked the bouncer to help me, they'd thrown my book into a damp corner.
The moral? Stand up for yourself. Don't let the b*stards grind you down. I will never be teetotal. I am aware when/how drunk I am and hate rude people.
Mary and all the regular contributors to this blog are beautiful people. My band is coming together, my fourteen year old relationship is behind me, and things are slowly becoming clearer.
Oh, yeah. Always give to the first busker you see.
Peace and Love, Rich Harrison x

Anonymous Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 3:15pm

Brilliogs blog Mary, Mary!
Thank you, Karen (bearofliddlebrain.com) x

Hopeful One Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 5:08pm

Hi anon 1.11 pm. - the moral? Stop drinking. Then you WILL be standing up for yourself .

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 5:08pm

Rich - lovely to see you back my dear! Thank you for that sharing there.

Julia Wed, Jul 22nd 2015 @ 6:52pm

Hi Rich
All You Need is Love..Love Love Love.
There's nothing you can sing that can't be sung...
Julia xx

Lorraine B Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 8:23am

Mary,
This post has made me stop and think - depression is my curse, the beast that cripples me and leaves me in a heap on the floor. Would I be without it ? Absolutely, I'd pay thousands.
But has it made me a better person? Am I more compassionate, more understanding and more accepting of people? Damn right it has. It's given me a passion and a reason to fight for others, its given me insight and a real appreciation of life when its good. Am I still scared of my black dog? of course I am, it petrifies me and I dread the next downturn.
I don't yet love the person I am, but I now realise that I am a better person than I was and that for me is a real achievement.
Thank you Mary

Lorraine xxx

Anonymous Thu, Jul 23rd 2015 @ 10:19am

Ah Mary, acceptance is a big leap forward and an important part of any recovery I think. Nearly at that point i think...however long it takes I know ill get there. Thank you lovely,I enjoyed this much. Love ratg x.

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