Managing mental health in work

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This article was published on celebrity Niall Breslin’s A Lust For Life website, a movement for mental health and well-being.

I dreamed of connecting with a wider community through writing for A Lust For Life on previous occasions, and this is my third article on the site! Why did I want to connect? Because my experience of bipolar disorder was a lonely existence for a long time. I was fed up with how restricting depression and low mood could be; I was intensely uneasy and agitated; I was troubled with how elation and overactivity lifted me from off the ground; and I absolutely had it with the total disconnect of mania. In short, I needed people and perhaps they needed me too. Continue reading

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Bursts of loveliness

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I was comforted by the words of a Sensei (teacher) during a Zen retreat at the Dominican Retreat Centre in Tallaght, Dublin over the weekend. She invited us at the beginning of the retreat to ponder the “bursts” (or opportunities of ‘bursting’) in our lives. In Buddhism, we often hear about enlightenment and we are told that when a person becomes enlightened it is as if heaven and earth crumble before their eyes. There is a sudden burst of newness that can transform the person’s life for evermore.

But the Sensei was suggesting that we can experience many little moments of enlightenment too. I rejoiced at dinner, for example, when my perceived cold mince pie turned out to be crumbly hot! I was grateful when my sudden drop of blood pressure during meditation re-awakened me with what seemed like a mild electric boost. Even the potted ‘Christmas Cactus’ in the photo seemed to want to burst out in praise in the midst of winter. Continue reading

Loving my support network

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I wrote a reflection recently on how I live with others, which was essentially about navigating the many webs of relationships in my life for optimal mental health and well-being. Living with bipolar disorder means that I need to remain vigilant to the potentially severe changes and challenges of mood which are characteristic of the illness. However, I want to shift the focus to how others live with me for this blogpost. I include here a number of reflections from important people in my life and I respond to each while being mindful of their needs. I am sincerely grateful to them for agreeing to publish their comments which I hope will resonate with readers.

Friends

There was only one time when you were different than usual over the past year. You were talking very quickly and loudly, and we were both concerned. But you were still able to express yourself. We checked in with you on that occasion and you were fine the next day. As far as your low mood is concerned, we don’t notice anything unusual about it.” Continue reading