Posts Tagged ‘depression’

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Olympians

February 13, 2010

I love, love, love the Olympics! I get so excited when it’s “that time.” I watch from the beginning of the opening ceremonies to the end of the closing ceremonies. I watch as many events as time allows. I never get enough.

When I was a young girl, during the 1984 Summer Olympics, my sisters and I created a make-shift gymnastic apparatus out of our couch. I would give my best Mary Lou Retton imitation by signaling to the imaginary judges, running as fast as I could from the kitchen into the living room, and hurling my body into a hand-stand position on the couch. My sisters were both my competitors and my judges. Ah, those were some good times.

There’s something incredibly attractive and sexy about Olympic athletes. They are very hard-working, dedicated, fearless, determined, and relentless. Those are all admirable traits. Those are all traits that I wish I had. The reality is that I am not hard-working. I’m a quitter. I am not fearless. I am fearful. I am not determined or dedicated. I am ambition-less and undedicated.

Do I get to blame these things on debilitating depression? Are the odds against me because I’m bipolar? I don’t know. If I were being as gentle with myself as a therapist would be, what would I say to myself? I’m not sure. I just know I can’t let myself off the hook.

I can strive for better, for more. I know I’ll never be an Olympian. I’ll be okay with that if I can just make some real progress in the life that I’ve been given. It’s going to take work… a different kind of work than that of an athlete. I am capable of hard work. I have to dedicate myself to this task. My life depends on it.

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Friends

February 9, 2010

When I’m in the depths of my depression, when absolutely nothing matters, I do what I do best – I isolate myself. I disappear. No one can find me. There have been many, many times in my adult life when I have sunk into a deep depression and completely shut myself off from my friends. Phone calls are ignored, emails go unanswered… for months and months… sometimes more than a year.

For some reason, my friends wait, and eventually I make contact with them again. They are always excited to hear from me… and we pick up right where we left off.

They should be allowed to expect more from me, though. Friendships are two-way roads. It’s important that I’m available for them when they need me, not just the other way around. I need to continually work on this. It’s equally important for my mental health. I need to be held accountable. I need to be a friend as much as I need friends.

Like I said, maintaining the friendships I have is absolutely critical to my mental health. I feel good when I reach out to my friends… no matter how long it’s been since we’ve last talked.

I am as honest as possible with my friends about being bipolar. They are supportive in all the ways that they know how to be, and for that, I am so thankful.

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