Daily Archives: July 10, 2013

A Salute to Willpower

A couple days ago I tried to explain what keeps me from going berserk 98% of the time.

The simple answer? It is willpower. And I happen to have a lot of it.

You see, when a particularly nasty bipolar episode begins, there’s a big gang of evil troops that march into battle.

On my end, though, there are also troops. Good guys. I send them in to fight for my cause.

These troops on my side fighting the good fight are my willpower. They attempt to defend against negative thoughts, against suicidal and homicidal fantasies, and they have the last say when it comes to what my body does and doesn’t do, or what my mouth does and doesn’t say.

My troops are strong (and I rather like to think of them as the scantily clad warriors in the movie 300) and to be perfectly blunt, they take a lot of shit. They have had evil troops march against them innumerable times at this point, but they often still hold strong.

Unfortunately, there are times when they have been broken. With bipolar disorder, these times are more frequent than I would like to admit, but when they do happen it is usually after days, weeks, or months of depressive torture, or when hijacked by mania or psychosis, or when a wave of a mixed episode spontaneously crashes on my shores.

I don’t think people understand the willpower that people with bipolar disorder have. The sheer strength and tenacity of our willpower.

Often what people see are the moments our willpower breaks. They don’t normally recognize the work and intensity that goes into not saying something offensive. Or not throwing the phone across the room. Or not punching a stranger in the face.

I don’t think there is enough credit where credit is due. And that’s why today, I want to acknowledge and give a cyber high-five to all of the people out there fighting hard not to turn into a douchebag. Fighting hard not to yell and scream. Fighting hard not to take their own life.

As someone who knows how truly hard that is, I salute you. You are doing a good job. Keep doing what you’re doing!

Even though there are times when our battle lines get broken, I want to take the time to contemplate all the times that they did not. 

So good work. Take a second to pat your troops on the back, and by that I mean pat yourself on the back. You work hard, don’t forget it!

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