Coming Out: On Having Bipolar Disorder

To my friends and family who might frown upon reading this… this is not for you. This is for the lives that are about to be reaped if the stigma of mental health continues. This is me doing my part for the world.

For more information on Bipolar Disorder, click here:

The day I decided to be myself again was the day I first sat down on my psychiatrist’s chair.

more “Coming Out: On Having Bipolar Disorder”

Ad Astra Per Aspera: Why failure is important to success

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The title of this post is my favorite Latin phrase: “A rough road leads to the stars”. It resonates deeply with me. And so does Ralph Waldo Emerson. I live by his quotes. I wholeheartedly love all of his wisdom.

But going where there was no path was not idyllic. Life wasn’t easy. And it sure showed me how.

This is my story, and I want to share with you some of the most important lessons I have ever learned. Maybe it will save you time in the long run, maybe from heartache, maybe it will help you avoid the mistakes that I did – who knows, the universe only does. Now before you go ahead and read it… I want you to understand 3 things:

Important reminders
  • This isn’t for you IF:
    • you’re the kind of person who feels they’re better than anyone else. I do not need your prejudice, I’m here to talk about what happened in order to become who I am today, and why stopovers & rejections in life were vital to my current position.
    • you think life is the same pattern for everyone else like it is for you.
    • you are not an empathic listener.
    • you are not passionate about life.
    • you refuse to embrace the waves of change.
  • Life will break you – whether or not you want it.
  • My reality and truth may make you uncomfortable, but as they say, experience, is a great teacher.

If you are okay with everything from above, click on below. Otherwise, I’ll advise you to click the X button on your window.

Read my full story
As your takeaway, here’s what I’ve learned:
  • Life’s lessons will present itself in its raw form, but you will be blind until it’s over. The grueling pain that I had to endure emotionally and physically was something I wouldn’t recommend but once this happens to you… do not panic. Call someone you trust, someone who’s known you your whole life – it could be a family member, a friend or your significant other. The important thing is not to carry this burden alone.
  • If help does not come, make your move. More often than not, the people around you won’t understand what you’re going through. They will be there for you but not with you. In case this happens, will yourself to create your future. Take action. Do not wait until help comes.
  • Rejection is protection. If you get turned away from something you want so bad, it must not really be for you. Think of it as a redirection from the universe.
  • Sleep and water is magic. Simple things… but they work wonders. When you’re cranky and you’re depressed, these are your best friends.
  • Love is not found from another person. It always is within you and about you. No it isn’t being selfish. If you are not okay with the love you have, then by all means let go.
  • Do not invest 100% in a relationship – unless it is a relationship with yourself. 

    The right person will come along and sweep you off your feet, things are great and before you know it you’ve fallen in love. But you cannot discount yourself from your real value… or you’re giving your significant other the power to rule over your life. By constantly seeing that you value yourself, your partner does as well. He/she will respect your worth. Isn’t this pretty much how before you started? You leave good impressions to attract them.

  • Productivity and travel are the cure to sadness. Knowing you’re doing something worthy of your existence will shun all the doubts and ghosts of your brain. Go out and explore! Nature will heal you, I promise. You’re made to do great things, so claim it and the universe will allow it!
  • Start a hobby that you think you might like. For me it was cooking that changed me. Every time I put out a lovely dish I made at home, I felt a sense of accomplishment and a well-founded purpose. There’s just a lovely magic in doing something productive so I suggest to pick up a hobby when life feels flat.

    It could be just as simple as collecting pictures, or taking photos or as grand as enrolling in a workshop meant to hone your skills.

  • Not everyone is from the same cookie cutter. Life can be normal for other people, yes they do make the wisest decisions, but I’ve figured a lot of people are so blind to the fact that real drama does happen. When shit hits the fan, they cannot believe it. And thus, it leads me to the next bullet point…
  • Your lowest moments will reveal who the real people in your life are. Might be a cliche, but this is indeed true. The moment that everything in your life is knee-deep in misery is when you know who has the patience to tolerate you and to be kind to you. Love these people. They are your source of strength.
  • School does not equal merit. Diplomas are not equal to guaranteed greatness. I’ve learned this the hard way. When I dropped out I thought my life would be put on hold, I came to feel like I was less of myself. But I was wrong. When I had my marketing job, I got to interview people, most of them from prestigious schools who graduated with diplomas and honors but they didn’t have the skills that made them fit for the job. They were “textbook junkies”. And when asked for a practical question they can only mutter “um” or look me in the eye. Don’t be textbook junkie. Your success depends on YOU. You are your greatest life project. Do not let the academic status quo stop you from being awesome.
  • Learning does not stop in school. With that being said, I got into self-learning and enrolling in online courses. Internet is your friend if you want to learn from the greatest and even the simplest of minds. Don’t stop learning. Knowledge and perseverance will be your greatest assets.
  • It’s okay to think and feel you may want to die, BUT NEVER DO ITThe idea of suicide is at most, just an extreme frustrating release. You want things to be better but they don’t happen. I saw it as a solution during my worst times, and an escape from this cold-hearted world. I no longer felt like I belonged. To me, I lost my value, my voice, my heart. When I wanted to speak, I would find myself holding back.

    “No one could possibly understand from where I’m standing,” yes I hear you. I’ve thought of it too.

    But killing yourself is not going to make things better. It just stops your life.

    You can make your weakness your power. Think of how many people you could help with your dilemma, when you finally get out of your position.

    How fulfilling it would feel?
    How many dreams you’ve wanted to pursue?
    How people will feel about your death?

    They say suicide is a selfish thing, but I think a lot of people who died from suicide, just really thought of what they thought was best for themselves. They weren’t able to get help from anyone. It’s not necessarily selfish as it would be a prejudice, but it seems they wanted to hand themselves a sense of peace.

    In my case, I killed myself in my head many times but I never found the courage to leave, simply because my goals and my desire for helping people burned so strong I didn’t want to leave this world. In that way, I somehow recreated myself time and time again, like a phoenix rising from the ashes reincarnating. This is an alternative way instead of taking your life.

    During that worst time, I kept thinking about the goals I could do, and people I could help get through the same feeling I did. I kept thinking of people I love who I might leave.

    And so, I looked for comfort in those who believed in me.

    I did allow myself to feel crappy, but once it was done I rose from the bed, ate my breakfast, made lunch and declared, “The rest of today will be a good day! I will live and do things that make me happy and fulfilled, and I will succeed!”

  • Depression is a friend who loves you endlessly. It loves you unconditionally, without barriers. And more often, it smothers you… but all it really wants is to allow you to feel so you can rise above the challenges life is throwing you, helping you to go through it instead of around it. This friend wants to make you braver, stronger and so invincible that it leaves you nothing less but your life to fulfill.

    Depression is not the one who gave you your problems; it’s just a by-product, an emotion. It is not a situation. You can get out of it.

    Once I understood this, I started to have shorter episodes, and more time planning on how I can make my life better. I ask myself after, “what can I do today to get me one step closer of being happy?”.

    Depression kept embracing me all these years, but I never hugged it back. I felt like a horrible friend to Depression. It was just helping me become stronger so no one and nothing can break me again. It wants me to get used to Pain, who’s my boundary watch. When I saw things this way and embraced depression back, amazing things began to happen. I began to see through people and feel what they felt.
  • Problems are phases. People are points. We always have the power to change our situation if we choose to. I never liked hearing this before but this is truth in my experience. Problems are just phases, stopovers. People are points. One does not represent the other.
  • Learn to separate each unfortunate event as they are. The problem I encountered most was that I didn’t know how to segmentize my suffering. I just thought of it as a whole chaos that was meant to make my life hell.

    When I separated each problem and let go of what haunts me, it allowed me to look at my life as a book with chapters instead of just one gunky page written with no stops.

    A story can be hard to read that way, right? So is your life.

    You need to be able to see that your life has its highlights and its shadows. Too much of each is not ideal, but a good balance makes for a good-looking picture.

  • Surround yourself with people who share your life goals. When I started having bad things around me, I had people snooping around my life like it was a TV soap. I felt judged and unmotivated. I even sulked in my bed for months.

    Then one day I met my lovely Lithuanian bestfriends, Ieva, Siga and Arūnas who changed me in ways I can never explain. Ieva is my sunshine, Siga is my wolf, Arūnas is my recluse.

    Ieva cheers me up when I am sad and makes me believe I can do it (even when I think I can’t and life sucks), while Siga is my motivator and talks real shit (still with love) into me when I cannot see things properly. Arūnas, who isn’t often around, pops in from time to time to check on me but when we do, he and I discuss universally-boggling things. It makes me laugh!

    And you need the same kind of people: People who value you.

    People who make you want to look forward to tomorrow.

    These 3 friends I have replaced my old network with who are just friends by the name. I now have Positivity, Reality, and Timing. They are them. They help me understand that not often things go as planned, but they care and they understand me deeply – and still love me despite my many flaws.
  • Grow a solid professional network. As you build relationships with meaningful people, you need to also have individuals who reflect the kind of goal or the lifestyle that you aspire.

    For example, if you want to be a photographer, make friends with photographers and photography enthusiasts.

    Are you an aspiring artist? Are the people around you not into your art? Change it! Be friends with fellow beings who share appreciation for your craft. That way it leaves you no gap for demotivation because you are surrounded by your dream.

    If you don’t know where to start, you can join our art collective, Amplified27 or subscribe to my private non-profit organization Pass On The Dream. We are a team of motivating and passion-driven people. We work for what we love so if you feel alone and can’t find your crowd, I encourage you to be surrounded by us!

Why is failure important, Iris?

Good question!

The reason why failure is important to success is because during these times you transition to a better you. If I were to give you a marketing reference, life would be called A/B testing in marketing. You test and fail, so you know what works next time. You learn. Whichever works, is your call. You take the lead.

I hope this made sense.

And to you, whoever you are… if you are going through something even remotely similar, you are great. Thank you for living your life. Do not think that you are otherwise. If you still feel like life is difficult, I’m an email away and let me help you get through it.

But for now, I’ll leave you with this quote…

When life gets too overwhelming and things go bad, when your family does not understand why, when your friends are too busy to listen or meet… All you really have is yourself. You cannot depend on anyone else to feel better. It’s an advice I always tell when people ask me how to get better, how to move on or how to be happy. Sometimes you really just have to fake it and make it. We all have these days. But at times these days get worse. We forget there is a world beyond our room, beyond the bed we choose to hide in. It is extremely difficult to motivate myself when it happens, and when I hear discouraging words I start to lose belief in my talents. But today I am proud of myself. Not for doing something great. But just to be able to wake up one more day and get up from the bed and try again. And if you are feeling awful today… Here’s to you. You brave little human being. You’ve lived all these years and fought your way through. And regardless of how many times you got stuck with pain, you cradled it with change and you fight. That’s the spirit! Go and make more moments. I’m proud of you.Iris Buenconsejo

May you always live the life you love.