When I arrived at the Clifton Center tonight, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve thus far avoided the support group meeting so technically this was my first official bipolar “event.”
I had no clue where to go when I got there, but saw a line and planted myself in it. It seemed safer than wandering around asking where the bipolar thing was. Soon enough, a woman behind me spoke.
“Do you know what this line is for?”
Me: “Not really.”
I wanted to joke, “It’s OK, I’m loony, too,” but my self-deprecating humor is not always welcomed.
After creeping up to a table, I filled out a piece of paper and snatched up a brochure about the University of Louisville Depression Center. I headed inside the theater – dimly lit as if to hide the room’s bipolarness – and nestled into a very comfy, red, velvety chair.
After talking about how she passes the time during her son’s swim practices, the woman behind me (in conversation with another woman about their work), said: “I prefer my clients to be just plain ‘ol schizophrenics. And no one who smokes crack.”
Can I get a WTF? Lucky for them, I have bipolar disorder- not schizophrenia – and I don’t smoke crack.
But moving along … the speaker of the night was David Miklowitz, author of “The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide.” Pretty famous book in the bipolar world. He was fantastic. Essentially, he spoke about Chapter 8 in his book (“8 practical ways to enhance your wellness”), such as keeping a mood chart, maintaining regular daily and nightly routines, avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs and relying on social supports.
I walked out of there feeling more knowledgeable about how to handle having bipolar and, more than anything, just realizing that this is going to be a journey, there’s no stopping point, no end in learning.
My husband asked me if it was worth attending. Absolutely.
Even with the woman behind me making those snarky comments – and I didn’t even roll my eyes.
Yep, my meds must be workin’.