Confined By, Defined By, or Refined By?

22 Jul 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.


A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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