Benefit of Bipolar - Crying

 Benefit of Bipolar - Crying

    For the first time, I'm going to write about one of the namesakes of the blog, a benefit of bipolar: Crying! This is a very taboo topic in many circles, especially for men, which gives me all the more reason to talk about it. One of my main goals through my work is to limit stigma that everyone who struggles with mental health suffers from; and crying certainly fits neatly in this basket. After this blog, at the very least, you know that it is a very normal occurrence and sometimes thoroughly enjoyed by yours truly! It's time to stop masking all of our emotions and healthy crying with our smiling facades and talk about it.  

    Up until my diagnosis and probably for a year thereafter, I strongly fell into the "crying is bad and don't ever admit it", super embarrassed about crying portion of society, you know, basically everyone. As I understood more of how bipolar works, I found that for me, it not only led to extremely sad and uncontrollable crying at the low end, it led to equally enjoyable and unexpected crying when in elevated moods on the other. It was my body's way of releasing emotions that I couldn't process or contain in a way that I couldn't control. Crying that much and that uncontrollably wasn't healthy and was one of the many reasons I finally opened up to my doctor about all of my symptoms, I just couldn't stop crying... daily, multiple times throughout the day.  It was exhausting, worrying and it was all just too much.  

    Once I was diagnosed, started to take my medication, and then finally took accountability for as much as I could control in my life, the crying started to fade.  It still happened and for a while there I was pretty concerned every time it did, but as with many other aspects of life it became more normal and more predictable. 

    Thus, I leaned in! I enjoyed the shit out of it. I would take any opportunity for a good cry: a super sad article, injustices in newspapers, a touching 5 minute piece about a football player who befriends a kid with cancer on a Sunday before the game, the times that I attempted, accomplished or tried something new after 15 years of limitations and fears; it was relieving to celebrate with a good cry. It all culminated at the zoo after a particularly empowering 10k training cycle and finish with my girlfriend (I'll tell this one later). This is how any mentally stable person should look at it in my view. It's not negative, it's not embarrassing, it's not something to hide, it's not a sign of weakness, and you damn sure shouldn't judge anyone for it!  You should commend yourself for allowing yourself to go to a place that is hard, your inner feelings, and it's amazingly freeing and uplifting once you get there!

    For me though, being bipolar, it turns out that there is always a negative side; or more optimistically, another warning sign and learning experience that I can glean from. As I wrote about in my previous post, I just went through my worst depression cycle in years and cried heavily for 4 straight days. It was painful, socially limiting, concerning and exhausting all over again.  I knew something was wrong and that this wasn't normal. After I enjoyed crying and was unconcerned about it for two years, all of those fears and anxieties about never getting "better" crept back up.  

    However, there was a huge change in how I dealt with my concerns and fears this time. Instead of hiding it, I shared with those around me so that they could understand what I was dealing with and that my quiet and increasingly irritable mood was a result of me trying to navigate the day and not any negative sentiment towards them.  Nor that there was anything underlying in my life that immediately needed to be addressed just that I need a little more help for a while and had to go back to the drawing board for a bit.   

    And guess what, between the crying, the sharing, focusing on maintaining some semblance of a routine, taking walks, doing easy workouts, and finding a new therapist, I was able to lessen the affects (albeit mildly, it still sucked something horrible) and shorten the duration of the major depressive cycle into a more mild and navigable one. I accomplished this more efficiently and with much more grace to myself than in the past. It also led to progress. By honestly assessing the previous few months, I realized that I had plateaued and that I needed more help maneuvering through my journey of continued progression.  It resulted in me starting this blog (crying while I wrote and crying afterwards in celebration), it stirred up an entrepreneurial spirit I didn't know I had, it fully ingrained my passion for helping others and eliminating stigma, and it resulted in my finding a new therapist who is specialized in bipolar.  As always, there are  benefits derived from crying and leaning in to your feelings and mental health. 

    So instead of judging those who cry, just tell them you are there for them no matter what and see if there is anything you can do to help. Don't mistake it for a sign of weakness though, it's a sign of strength, toughness and resilience and of someone willing to face and release their emotions; maybe even give it a try yourself. 

    This was supposed to be a quick post, but after a conversation I had with my aunt earlier today, it grew... a lot.  I hope it was worth it and as always, thank you for reading and cry away!


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