In Nigeria where am from, a diagnostic report confirming that an individual is suffering from any the form of mental health disorder, can be likened to a death sentence! This was my situation in 2003 when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a series of disturbing occurrences. The reaction, responses and fear of every one then was, ‘will she amount to any good, after this?’, ‘How would life turn out for this young lady?’ Apart from my parents and few of my friends, many focused on the disadvantages of the situation I had found myself.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty…” I Corinthians 1:27, KJV.

I remember vividly, the day we were at a rehabilitation class in the Psychiatry Hospital where I was admitted. In that class, we were encouraged to learn a new skill like painting, weaving, singing, writing, or any other skill that will empower us to be better individuals and take our minds away from negative impact of a nervous breakdown.  I am sure I attended close to four of such classes before I was discharged from the hospital. 

On one of my visits, I expressed my concerns with the young man who was teaching us how to paint. I asked him, ‘will I be able to integrate back into the society?’ and ‘from where do I start from, how I would start life again?’ He glanced at me briefly, smiled and shared the story of someone he knew who had been through a mental health disorder; how she was hospitalized, discharged and is living a meaningful life. Upon hearing this, hope sprang up in my heart.

If you have been diagnosed or you are a care giver to someone who has been diagnosed with any form of mental health disorder, you must recognise that bipolar or whatever the mental health disorder, do not define who that individual is. You are not the illness! Yes you are not bipolar, even though you have to deal with its symptoms daily! 

I hear that persons diagnosed with Autism are usually creative in many ways. The extremities around Bipolar can be used in a good way to ensure that output is creative, detailed and delivered with a 100% commitment!  I am aware that Schizophrenia can make sufferers to become lone rangers, with little or no interest in what is going on around them but have you paused and asked yourself, ‘what is going on in their heads?’ I assure you that they do not see life the way you see life and that they have an unusual ability to think outside the box. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how it is harnessed.

What am I trying to say? Recently, I listened to Original Intent, Equal opportunities, a podcast by Bidemi Mark-Mordi and I could not stop thinking about the examples of the two persons whose stories where studied. I saw pictures of the lady, Olajumoke Orisaguna and I said to myself, her strength and advantage was in her body structure, (slim features) her confidence( to walk through a live set in a determination to sell her wares) and her consistence in doing what she knew to do best to survive in that phase of her life. So you see, Bidemi Mark-mordi is right when she says, we are not disadvantaged!

Each of us has something on the inside that can make our part of the earth a better place to live in! A better place to be! Have you discovered your advantage? Are you focused on your disadvantage rather than on your advantage? Stop blaming others for what is not working, look within and proffer a solution. Be a positive change agent. Don’t go through life with an ‘I can’t do it’ mentality.

My name is precious, I was bipolar and I live a full life

Lord, help me to always remember that you use the foolish things, the weak things and the base things and things that are despised to confound the wise. Lord, I submit my experiences to you; use them for your glory in Jesus name, Amen.

I Corinthians 1:25-31- King James Version
Bidemi Mark Mordi: www.bidemi
Schizophrenia : “Schizophrenia symptoms include distorted thoughts, hallucinations, and feelings of fright and paranoia. Psychiatrists evaluate symptoms, tests, and medical history, and prescribe medications and psychotherapy for treatment.”

Blogger’s Note: Please understand that being diagnosed with any of the mental illnesses out lined above, does not mean you are disadvantaged. There is something in your DNA that will benefit the world. See WebMd’s example of Vincent van: Gogh:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *