Pursuing Passions Outside Of Mental Health

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Me as a makeup artist!

 

After being diagnosed with a mental health condition, it can feel like it’s consuming your entire life and that the illness is just who you are now. But this is not the case.

When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder, I felt that it defined me. I was Bipolar. I was not a person LIVING with Bipolar. It was my whole life. I just didn’t really know how to continue on with my life. I felt that I either had to let it completely consume me, or I had to just pretend that the diagnosis just didn’t exist.

So I juggled between the two. With some people, who I was comfortable with, I was mentally ill and that was it. But with most people, I was still me! I didn’t even mention it. They couldn’t know about my Bipolar “alter ego”. This was exhausting to keep up. It was like I was living a double life, and not in the fun Hannah Montana sort of way. It was just a mess. I would blow up out of nowhere when people weren’t extremely accepting of my new diagnosis. Obviously, it takes family members a minute to get used to news like a new diagnosis, but when they didn’t understand right away, I freaked out because it felt like they weren’t accepting me as a whole.

Recently, I’ve learned how to be myself and have my illnesses there as a part of me, but not as my entire being. They no longer define me, and finally, I’m able to enjoy things outside of mental illness. I know this is much healthier than how I used to live. I know my blog is all about mental illness, but I have so many hobbies outside of this as well!

There’s a path by my local beach that I LOVE to go walk on with friends. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Then there’s my brunch habit, LOL. Every Sunday, I love going to brunch, getting a spicy Bloody Mary, and then shopping my worries away in our cute little town. This weekend I actually bought the cutest summer to fall romper I’ve ever seen in my life. And it was on sale!! It’s really the little things. Another hobby of mine has always been hair and makeup. I used to be a freelance makeup artist as my job! Now it’s more of a hobby, but I still love it. I used to do some modeling as well! You guys get the idea.

Me as a model!

What I’m trying to say is that you are so much more than your illness. I challenge you to think of three adjectives that describe you completely outside of your illness. I am empathetic, caring, and passionate. What are you? Let me know in the comments!

I also challenge you to pick up a new hobby next time you’re feeling unlike yourself. Next week, my aunt is coming over to teach me to knit! This is practical because I can do it on my commute to and from work, but also super fun! Now I can make scarves for everyone for the holidays and I’m so excited.

It’s nice getting excited about little things. In our world of medicine and therapy and possible hospitalizations and suicidal thoughts, it’s so nice to have a world outside of that. Our passions outside of mental illness can even pull us out of the depths of depression or any episode you might be going through.

Everyone says diet and exercise keeps you healthy, and that’s true. But there’s nothing like passions that give us a reason to get up every day. Those keep us healthy too! So whether you’re an artist, a singer, a makeup artist, a sports player, or whatever, keep at it. It makes a bigger difference in your life than you think.

Xo

 

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