Coming out of such a long running episode has been incredibly strange. The more time that passes, the more I realize just how long this was going on. My attitude has slowly been reverting back to how I was in 2018. Motivated, positive, driven. There’s something different about it, though. I’m not the same. I’ve been seasoned and weathered, and the last 3 years have taken their toll.
Today I have a deeper understanding and respect for my condition. It’s not that I thought bipolar 2 was some kind of joke, it was that I thought I had it under control. Turns out that there’s always the chance for an episode to happen, even if you’re medicated. Not that my medication was correct or anything. It was completely wrong. BUT I was on something so there’s that.
ANYWAYS, this post isn’t about being bipolar, it’s about being motivated. It’s about having a goal set in your mind and taking the steps to achieving it. It’s about how my view and stance on positivity and motivation has changed in light of recent events. I suppose at the core, this post is about toxic positivity.
But how can positivity be toxic? Aren’t good vibes good? Shouldn’t we look to the best and kick that negativity to the curb? Well that’s a pretty complex question, really. Short answer is yes, long answer is no, are you insane?
There’s a lingering problem in the motivational community. If it’s not outright hidden, then it’s ignored. If it’s not ignored, then it’s actually believed by those who are shilling the goods to the masses. That problem is the denial of the negative.
Rarely do speakers address the true severity or impact of negative events, mental health, and trauma. They instead focus on pushing forward and working harder, while ignoring the need to reconcile with our past. I am absolutely one to believe we need to move forward and push ourselves for improvement and achievement, but not without reconciliation and acceptance first.
When’s the last time you heard a speaker acknowledge the challenges of clinical depression? Or an anxiety disorder? According to most of them, meditation and a traipse in the forest will cure it all. But those of us who have to manage mental illness every day know that it’s not going away, and management is a lifetime job. It doesn’t have to be a crutch.
Let’s have that conversation. Let’s start talking about how you can be bipolar and achieve amazing things. Or you can have ADHD and run a successful business. Yeah, we have additional challenges to do so, but if we can learn one thing through mental health management it’s this: RESILIENCE.
We can weather storms that would crumble others. We can handle levels of pain, frustration, and stress other people will never even experience. Even in the throes of our darkest and most severe episodes, we are tougher simply for existing.
You can’t tell me I can’t do something. I give zero fucks what it is, I take it as a challenge and will rise to it. Sometimes that’s a fault, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a damn admirable one. That strong will and stubborn attitude has taken me places most people won’t ever reach, and honestly, I don’t feel like I’ve started yet.
You have nothing to gain by pushing away everything that’s negative. It’s the equivalent of bottling anger or sadness. The result is that it will inevitably boil over and cause huge fractures in whatever you’ve been attempting to build. It run from negativity. Embrace it and wrestle with it, find your way through it to the other side. And you know, sometimes that does mean pushing it away. More often than not, it means accepting it as it is and learning to work around it.
Contrary to what a lot of motivational speakers tell you, negativity is not some kind of cancer you can just cut out and get rid of. Negativity is an aspect of life. Bad things happen, and they happen to good people. It’s up to you how you want to frame those situations, and up to you the type of relationship you want to build with it. Just remember that just because you push negativity away doesn’t mean it’s gone. It just means you’ve put it where you can’t see it.