I have something really interesting to tell you today.
You might not know this but I have about 14 people now who work for me with one or more mental illnesses. One has even been diagnosed with 10 different disorders, and she is still able to work for me.
Am I out of my mind? Some people think that I am.
But I want to tell you two things.
First, that if you have one or more mental disorders, you can still do well.
Just look at this one person’s story:
She is a writer who has 10 different disorders, starting from when she was 12 years old! She is
on disability, but she loves to write, so maybe that’s part of it – she is doing what she loves to do.
Do you think that’s her secret? I think her secret is that she is stable. And she is stable because she follows a good treatment plan, including taking her medication and seeing a therapist on a regular basis.
Secondly, I have found that people who have mental disorders like bipolar disorder are really
very smart when they are stable. It’s amazing actually. I have found people in my company that once stable can do tasks and projects that nobody else can do or wants to do. These people can think faster, better, solve problems faster, and are solution-oriented, proactive, take initiative, etc.
If your loved one has a mental illness, remember this. Great things in society were done by many people with mental illnesses.
Edgar Allen Poe was a great writer, and they say that even he had a mental illness. There were (and are) a number of great authors, actors, composers, writers, etc., who they say had (have) mental illnesses. They say that even Van Gogh had a mental illness. Believe it or not, even Abraham Lincoln was thought to suffer from bipolar disorder because of his documented
depressions. And Mozart, too!
People today include:
• Patty Duke
• Carrie Fisher
• Jane Pauley
• Jim Carey
• Robin Williams
• Ted Turner
• Mel Gibson
• Patricia Cornwell
• Robert Downey Jr.
• Tim Burton
If someone says you are odd, the only reason you would be odd is because you have such
tremendous potential. But does that mean you have a mental illness? Not necessarily.
Many times, I talk about the stigma associated with mental illness, and that it’s due to society’s fear of people who are different than they are. Different? Smarter? More creative? If your loved one is these things, it’s not something to be afraid of.
As long as they are stable, and taking their medication and following a good treatment plan, you can remain supportive without fear of them. Remember about the people I told you about who work for me. Think about all the famous people I told you about, both in the past and the present.
Different is not always bad. It just means that you look at things differently, as people with bipolar disorder do. I call it “coloring outside the lines.” Or, as it is more commonly known, “thinking outside the box.” I can always count on the people who work for me to do that.
If your loved one seems different than other people, embrace that difference. It can be a good thing.
Well, I have to go!