For over forty years, I have been seriously challenged by a mental illness. After about seven of those years, I began to gradually find my way.
This book asserts that mental illness can be very difficult to diagnose and yet, at the same time, can lead to a unique form of awareness that transcends the limitations of simply “treading water”. Like the Phoenix recreating itself from the ashes, an individual struggling with a serious mental illness can overcome the many obstacles that limit substantive potential and purpose.
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I have spent most of my life coping with an illness that is very difficult to identify and extremely challenging to manage. For me, and millions of others, this illness continues to defy any comprehensive explanation, and for most of us recovery can be a lifelong process.
Even as medications continue to improve making life better for many, the illness itself has no known cure. This dilemma leaves many of us who cope with bipolar disorder feeling healthy enough to function, but still sick enough to face recurring symptoms.
In the book I describe some of my personal experiences and a number of concepts that have made a normal life possible for me. I also share some creative stories and poems that reflect my thoughts and feelings as I have matured.
The first chapter is an autobiography - a factual and truthful recounting of some experiences during my early years. These are sometimes embarrassing; however, I believe telling the truth is the more accurate, useful way to describe them.
They show how important it has been for me to develop a sense of self-discipline while developing an authentic sense of self-esteem and discovering realistic attitudes in terms of work routines, and medications.
These various ideas and feelings that I have come to trust have worked for me over many years. The concepts and attitudes are now a kind of internal structure helping me in day to day living. They have also proven invaluable in my relationships with others.