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Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, I am not a doctor or therapist, I am a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experiences and knowledge that I have gained in the hope those experiences and knowledge may help you.
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In this time of uncertainty hero’s and mentors maybe what we need for our mental health. They are out there and it is our job to find them.
What is a hero and how to find one?
A hero is that torch that you can follow. The spark that ignites the fire that says if they can, I can too. The biographies of the great men and women are waiting on the shelves of libraries, bookstores, and online in Wikipedia for you to find the hero that speaks to you in a way you can understand and want to follow.
My current hero is Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Why would I choose him as a hero? Because when most people are winding down their working lives he was just getting started. In my case after battling this illness unsuccessfully for decades my life is just getting started in my 60’s as well. If he had quit when he turned 65 and settled for his little pension, we would never have known who he was. He did not settle, and I do not want to settle either. He had something to offer the world, a secret recipe of herbs and spices, and I would like to think I have something to offer in my writing of children’s stories and this blog.
There was one other thing about Col. Sanders that his biography shed a light on. He had failed a lot in his life. His biographer John Ed Pearce wrote, “[Sanders] had encountered repeated failure largely through bullheadedness, a lack of self-control, impatience, and a self-righteous lack of diplomacy.”
I could really relate to that line as it pretty much summed up my bipolar life except the fear.
What is a mentor and how to find one?
A mentor is someone who has trod the path that you are on and can keep you from some of the errors that they have suffered through. The best mentors have no ulterior motives and only sincerely want the best for you. It is a relationship like none other in this day and age. A good mentor is not a bank, a taxi, or your savior. They are just a person who will never turn you away no matter what you have done.
My current mentor and I have welded a relationship over the last number of years and even in the depths of my last episode in 2010 never once turned me away. I just refused to listen to wise words because I was so wrapped up in my illness that nothing penetrated. We can laugh about that today.
How do you find a mentor? First, you must put yourself in a position to meet one. Attending support groups is usually a good place to start. Although many who attend support groups fall away as they reach a feeling of wellness, some stay to give back to the people who are still suffering. Those are the potential mentors. With the advent of online forums and chats finding someone you can forge a long distant relationship with has also become an option. I have a few people that I mentor through email. There is only one requirement to having a mentor and that is honesty. If you cannot be honest don’t bother. For the few that I mentor face to face the first thing I say is “I don’t care if you lie to me, just don’t lie to yourself.”
There are many tools to be found on the path to mental wellness. Two of the best are finding a hero and a mentor. They are the fire and the forge that can weld you into a person of integrity and keep you on the path to mental wellness.
As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations, or other external things. Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our emotions, minds, and lives.
The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”
I say,” Work hard on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.
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BLOG OF THE WEEK:
Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well. This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you. I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by Madelyn Chung