I am bipolar type 1.
I am male.
I am fat.
I am angry.
I am happy.
I am sad.
I am fearful.
But am I really any of those things?
When I was a prisoner to my mind, I believed all my thoughts were true. When I heard and believed that I was bipolar, I then read all I could about bipolar.
Here are some of the symptoms that I read about bipolar from the Mayo clinic:
Euphoria , Poor judgment, Racing thoughts, Aggressive behavior, Agitation or irritation, Easily distracted, Sadness, Hopelessness, Suicidal thoughts or behavior, Anxiety, Guilt, Sleep problems, Fatigue, Loss of interest in activities once considered enjoyable, Irritability, Chronic pain without a known cause.
There are many sources of information—they all provided me with an excuse for not being “normal.”
Mental illness is subjective, and the diagnosis is dependent on the opinion of the doctor. There is no test to prove that you are mentally ill. You cannot get a CAT scan or blood test to prove mental illness. In the past, I’ve been to 4 or 5 psychiatrists, each with a similar but ultimately a different diagnosis. It all came down to the doctor I trusted the most to diagnose me and to make me “normal.”
All the components of the bipolar label—the symptoms—were my excuses to be lazy and undependable. I had to live up to the stigma of mental illness! I had a habit of believing everything I read. My mind loved to adopt the beliefs from others as my own.
Being identified with any label is hell since it creates numerous limitations. My label was Bipolar Disorder Type 1. I locked myself in a box and misplaced the key.
Through meditation, I found the misplaced key in my own pocket. I unlocked the door to my brain, dropped the label, and discovered freedom. I discovered inner peace.
My doctor would have never made me “normal.” Twenty years of taking pills did not cure me. It was always pills, never meditation. Meditation was never discussed as an option or an addition to pills.
In this place of freedom, I switched from “I am” to “I have.”
I have happiness.
I have sadness.
I have anger.
I have fear.
I have a brain.
I have fat.
I have fear.
I have a male body.
I had bipolar.
I can see now that I have things, but I am not those things.
I can look at old photographs of myself and ask “where is Sam?” If I see my hand, is my hand “Sam?” If I see my foot, is my foot “Sam?” If I cut off my hand or foot, has “Sam” changed? Even though the body has changed from a baby to adult, the one who sees through the eyes has never changed. My essence is unchanging.
It sounds very simple to change the mindset, but the mind revolts. The mind insists on running the show and will do everything to remain in control with non-stop thoughts. I’ve learned that the way to freedom is through the practice of not believing thoughts.
I just needed to step back and take a breath. From there, I saw that very few thoughts are actually true. And I still see that every day.
I’ve learned to use my brain as a tool to solve problems, not create them. I’ve learned to be myself. I’ve learned to be free.