The world’s a nicer place if only we slowed down

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I was out shopping yesterday, I passed two little girls. One aged about 10, and another aged about 6. The little girl was rushing ahead, and the older one was a little bit slower.

Continue reading “The world’s a nicer place if only we slowed down”

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Bipolar awareness week

quote: What defines us is how well we rise after falling

I’m re-posting this blog post as this week is Bipolar awareness week.

By Anon

About seven months ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Although this came as a shock, I had known that something had not been right for a while. I had suffered from deep dark depressions  for years which were followed by periods where I was unable to sleep for days. Although the diagnosis was scary, it did come as some sort of relief. Finally I had a name for what was wrong with me.

But I doubted the diagnosis, how could I, a normal 26-year-old who experienced a few highs and lows be diagnosed with something ‘crazy’ people had. I thought of all the celebrities  who had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, Britney Spears and Kerry Katona were two names that came to mind. But how could my Doctor compare me with two celebrities who had clearly gone off the rails?

Since then I’ve been unable to come to terms with the diagnosis. Until yesterday I hadn’t spoken to anyone about it, mainly because the diagnosis scared me, but also because I didn’t want anyone to think differently of me.

But yesterday I was in a conversation with someone when for some reason I dropped my bombshell. We were talking about life and the obstacles that it throws at us, and suddenly before I knew it I mentioned that I had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I couldn’t believe that I had divulged such a private detail about myself. Especially something that I was so ashamed about.

But I guess it happened for a reason.

As it turns out my ‘secret’ wasn’t such a bombshell after all. In fact the person I was with was completely understanding, and had experienced their own highs and lows.

I guess the moral of the story is that I was so busy keeping my secret that it was in fact eating me up. Sure, I don’t have to tell everyone that I have Bipolar disorder- as it’s none of their business. But that doesn’t mean that I have to let it burn a hole inside of me either.

I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter if I have ups or downs, that is not what  defines me. What matters is that I pick myself up after each fall.

That in itself is liberating.

What defines you?

quote: What defines us is how well we rise after falling

By Anon

About seven months ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Although this came as a shock, I had known that something had not been right for a while. I had suffered from deep dark depressions  for years which were followed by periods where I was unable to sleep for days. Although the diagnosis was scary, it did come as some sort of relief. Finally I had a name for what was wrong with me.

But I doubted the diagnosis, how could I, a normal 26-year-old who experienced a few highs and lows be diagnosed with something ‘crazy’ people had. I thought of all the celebrities  who had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, Britney Spears and Kerry Katona were two names that came to mind. But how could my Doctor compare me with two celebrities who had clearly gone off the rails?

Since then I’ve been unable to come to terms with the diagnosis. Until yesterday I hadn’t spoken to anyone about it, mainly because the diagnosis scared me, but also because I didn’t want anyone to think differently of me.

But yesterday I was in a conversation with someone when for some reason I dropped my bombshell. We were talking about life and the obstacles that it throws at us, and suddenly before I knew it I mentioned that I had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I couldn’t believe that I had divulged such a private detail about myself. Especially something that I was so ashamed about.

But I guess it happened for a reason.

As it turns out my ‘secret’ wasn’t such a bombshell after all. In fact the person I was with was completely understanding, and had experienced their own highs and lows.

I guess the moral of the story is that I was so busy keeping my secret that it was in fact eating me up. Sure, I don’t have to tell everyone that I have Bipolar disorder- as it’s none of their business. But that doesn’t mean that I have to let it burn a hole inside of me either.

I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter if I have ups or downs, that is not what  defines me. What matters is that I pick myself up after each fall.

That in itself is liberating.

You can change minds about mental health in Ireland

See Change is  working to change minds about mental health problems in Ireland. They are currently running a campaign called  Make a Ripple; a campaign to build an online community of ambassadors, advocates, story tellers and volunteers who can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.

The idea is simple – they want people to speak out against stigma by leaving a comment on the Make a Ripple site (coming soon), on their facebook page or through twitter. International evidence says that telling stories and sharing experiences can be one of the most effective ways to change attitudes, tackle stigma and challenge discrimination.

So what can you do?

After the launch, See Change will be inviting everyone to visit the site and make a ripple. Before that though, they want to gather 100 contributions so that the site has lots of stories and pledges when we open it up to the public. They’re asking for your help by signing up as one of their first 100 ambassadors. Its only 100 words or less, and it can be about your own experience of mental health problems and your journey to recovery, a message about how someone else’s experience affected you, or a plea for others to start talking openly and honestly about mental health problems.

The aim is to create a ripple effect that will allow See Change to reach more and more people with the message that we need to be open, honest and accepting about our own and others mental health.

If you’d like to become an ambassador, just drop  an email at mbyrne@seechange.ie or call a member of the See Change team on (01) 860 1620.

 

The Five Essential Elements of Wellbeing

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I’ve recently come across an interesting book called Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements (Gallup Press) by Tom Rath and James K. Harter, Ph.D. Interestingly,  in partnership with leading economists, psychologists, and other acclaimed scientists, they have begun to explore the common elements of wellbeing that are common to all countries and cultures.

In their initial research, they asked people what “the best possible future” for them would look like.

As part of this research, they conducted a comprehensive global study of more than 150 countries, giving them a lens into the wellbeing of more than 98% of the world’s population. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, they asked hundreds of questions about health, wealth, relationships, jobs, and communities.

They then compared these results to how people experience their days and evaluate their lives overall.

In the initial research,  people were asked what “the best possible future” for them would look like. They found that when evaluating their lives, people often gave disproportionate weight to income and health: Across the groups  surveyed, “good health” and “wealth” were two of the most common responses.

Perhaps this is because these things are easy to measure and track over time — we can monitor our height, weight, blood pressure, and household income. Yet we do not have a standard way to measure the quality of our careers or the health of our relationships.

So to construct a comprehensive measure of individual wellbeing, Gallup designed an assessment called the Wellbeing Finder, by testing hundreds of questions across countries, languages, and vastly different life situations. Continue reading “The Five Essential Elements of Wellbeing”