Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Importance of Support Network

I realize through my recent relapses, the importance of having the support and prayers of my family and friends, besides professional helps from Doctors, Counsellors and Support Group. The people I love, and who love me, will see me at my best. When my symptoms reappear, they may see me at my worst.

Whenever possible, I will share with them my condition. I give them articles, pamphlets and books to read about bipolar disorder so that they will understand that my behaviour is not always under my control. It will also help them to understand why I am sometimes so different.

A friend recently told me that he used to wonder why I was at times very warm and friendly but at other times very cold and indifferent. After understanding my condition and different mood swings, he was able to understand why. He is very compassionate kind and understanding. He even offered me a listening ear should I need to talk to someone when I am feeling down.

My Doctor suggested to me recently, that I should tell my family and friends that I am like a bear -) For certain period of time in a year, I will hibernate -) Bears hibernate during winter in which they pass the winter in inactive.

I thank God for the support of the following people in my life:

1) My family.

2) My church brethren and Friends

3) My Doctors

4) My Christian Counsellors

5) My newfound Blogging Friends

Since I started this blog, I am getting to know a few oversea friends who are either bipolar themselves or suffering from other condition which can cause depression at times. They are most understanding and supportive, as they themselves have gone through similar experiences. I am also learning many things from them as they have posted many useful posts on their own experiences and also links to other helpful sites.

I am thankful for these newfound friends who are sharing their experiences and learnings with me. My newfound blogging friends thus far are:

a) Marja Bergen : Her blog is Roller Coaster

Marja, from Canada is a writer/photographer with bipolar. She is the author of a book “Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders” (Northstone, 1999).

I first came across Marja’s article published on the website of CanadianChristianity.com about her illness. I have reproduced her article with her kind permission under “Real Life Testimonies” of my posts. I hope, God willing, one day I can also write a book just like Marja :-)

b) Michelle Ozarks : Her blog is Ozarks sew n' sew

Michelle is from Missouri, United States. I got to know Michelle when she visited my blog and left a comment. Michelle also has bipolar, and when I visited her blog, I found out that she and her husband love to cross-stitch. I enjoy cross-stitch too. Michelle is the most faithful in visiting my blog and commenting on it. Thanks Michelle :-)

c) Desiree Sison : Her blog is Mood Swings

Desiree is from San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines. She has been stuggling with bipolar disorder for the past 15 years. The illness has been a part of her eversince she can remember and she has learned to manage it with the help of medications and counselling, etc. Well done, Desiree :-)

d) Anne : Her blog is Disabled Not Dead

Anne is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. I got to know Anne through Marja's blog. Anne is a Christian. She has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since 1976. She volunteers in issues regarding employment discrimination, disability discrimination in workplace and schools, and is the chairwoman of a disabled persons advisory board in local community. Keep up your good works, Anne :-)

e) Merelyme : Her blog is Multiple Synchronicities & Sclerosis

Merelyme is from United States. She is also a MSer. Writing about her life experiences is her main passion. She also loves to read other's life stories. She thrives on creative expression including poetry, photography, and art. Glad you are creative, Merelyme, very much like us with bipolar :-)

f) Amanda : Her blog is My Bipolar Blessing

Amanda is a Canadian. I got to know Amanda when she visited my blog and left a comment. I am glad that Amanda called her blog "My Bipolar Blessing" and able to see blessings in her bipolar. I am learning to do so too :-)

g) Dream Writer : Her blog is Coming Out of the Dark

Dream Writer is from United States. I got to know Dream Writer through Marja's blog. She has been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder in 2005. She now goes to college as a non-traditional student majoring in Psychology. Her goal is to receive her masters and become a counselor and help within the Mental Health area. Good of you, Dream Writer, to want to be a counselor and help others in the Mental Health area :-) Trust you will be a great blessing to others.

h) Susan Bernard : Her blog is Bipolar Wellness Writer.

Susan is a writer who lives in Los Angeles and she has survived more than 120 bipolar depressions! I am glad that Susan called her blog "Bipolar Wellness Writer" and she prefers to post in a positive way. She knows that the only real hope is to try and achieve wellness rather than dwelling on all the pain and suffering. But she knows it's not always easy. I am also learning to try and achieve wellness so that I can be more functional and useful :-) Do read more about Susan in her comments with this post.

I thank God for His love and mercies to me through all my life, saving me from sins and giving me much spiritual and temporal blessings. And even now in this bipolar condition, He has provided so much help and support, and I can know His love and faithfulness in very special ways daily. Before my diagnosis, I thank God that He has preserved me through some 10 or more relapses of severe depressions. I am thankful for my diagnosis which is helping me to manage my illness better. And I thank God for all my family members, church friends, other friends and my newfound blogging friends - for all the prayers, encouragements, supports and kindness. I pray that I may continue to learn to manage my condition better so that I can be functional and able to serve God and be of maximum benefit to my family, church, friends, fellow bloggers and the society. I thank God for the joy of walking with Him daily and serving Him in small ways, as He enables me. I thank Him that I can serve Him through this blog.

Oops, I hope I don't sound like someone who just won an academy award :-)

Anyway, once again, thanks to all of you! Sorry, if I missed out any names, there's too many for me to put all down here. May God bless all of you :-)

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