You’ll be surprised when you’re up against the wall, the things you’ll do to get out of a tough situation. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder this is exactly how I felt – that I was up against a wall. I often look back and wonder what I would be doing if I didn’t get diagnosed with bipolar. For example, I ask myself:
- Would I still be drinking?
- Would I be smoking and not exercising?
- Would I still have the motivation to change my thinking?
- Would I still have the motivation to prove everyone wrong who thought that people with a mental disorder wouldn’t mount to anything?
To be transparent, I thank bipolar for making me the man I am today. You see, when I was a teenager, I thought I would grow out of the negative things I was doing. But, after being diagnosed with bipolar, I knew if I wanted to change it would require a lot more than just stopping the negative habits. Bipolar disorder has a funny way of keeping you on one extreme or another, and the trigger is intertwined with events taking place in your life. When something negative would happen and I wasn’t ready to handle it, it would trigger a manic episode. When my mood was elevated, I would spend a lot more money, drink alcohol excessively, and take enormous risks. When I was depressed, I would not leave my house, still drink excessively, and not study or work. It was very tough on me psychologically.
One day, I decided I had to take control of my life, and start finding ways to manage my inner thoughts effectively. I had to find negative patterns, which affected me the most. And find alternatives, which would provide balance in my life. It was being diagnosed with bipolar disorder that pushed me to become stronger mentally.
Awesome #5 – I’m Mentally Stronger
Wow, it’s been a long, hard journey for me, but I’m very content with where I am in my life right now. I’ve learned how to manage my mood swings and be very optimistic in certain situations, which would’ve held me back before. Mental strength is your ability to deal with difficult situations; you use positive thinking you’ve learned overtime to combat these situations. Being diagnosed with bipolar forced me to change my mentality and learn what attributes I needed in order to handle difficult situations. I think about this often, and ask myself –
If I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar, would I have a reason to learn these skills that have helped me?
I’m a big believer in cause and effect. I believe for something to happen and change there needs to be a driving force behind it. The more impactful (negative) the driving force, the more motivation you have for change. My motivation to build mental strength has everything to do with my diagnosis. Before being diagnosed, I didn’t care about mindfulness, abundance, positive energy, reading about mental toughness, or living in the now. Bipolar disorder was my driving force.
Before I continue, I challenge you right now to write down what positive changes bipolar has brought in your life. Is training your mind one of them? Are you more mentally ready and tough?
There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be faced with adversity as I go through life. The only difference now is that I’m ready to tackle whatever stands in my way. If bipolar can’t slow me down, you think a small roadblock will?
Every time I’m faced with any kind of adversity my mental toughness and training automatically kicks into high gear. For example, I try to find explanations, not excuses, to why things happened; I look for the positive in the situations and how it will make me stronger in the future. Even when setting goals, I focus on the ones that will help my overall growth, and not ones that are easy to complete. I don’t focus on the past because it’s over and can’t be controlled, but live in the present to enjoy life in its entirety.
These are just a few examples that have been embedded in my character because of bipolar.
Here’s a great article I wrote on building mental toughness. It will provide insight into my train of thought whenever I’m faced with adversity. (Read it to learn how you can become more mentally tough!)
Mental toughness is something you can train your mind for. You can train your mind to endure difficulties, and then conquer what’s stopping you. In my case, I had no reason to make changes in my life until I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I knew things would be harder on me because of it so I started making positive changes in my life. Building mental strength has helped me handle situations that would have caused me enormous stress and anxiety in my life. We all know how both “stress and anxiety” can trigger manic episodes when living with bipolar. It has provided me with the foundation I need to keep pushing forward in life – now that’s awesome!