Posts

Clara Hughes' BIG Events in Victoria a Huge Success

On May 15, 2014, the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC hosted two very successful events that welcomed six-time Olympic Champion Clara Hughes into the Victoria, BC community.   

Ribbon Cutting Event at the BC Legislature

At 3pm Clara was welcomed by dignitaries such as the Lieutenant Governor of BC and MLA Michelle Stilwell along with an impressive crowd of Victorians cheering her on.  The ceremony was amazing having Kevin Breel introduce Clara and I was the Master of Ceremonies for the day. We were celebrating Clara's Big Ride.  The ride consists of having Clara ride across Canada in 110 days, over 12,000 kms, with 95 community stops.  

As Clara cut the large pink ribbon with the large pink scissors, the crowd cheered her on.  Clara is an impressive individual who spoke so genuinely from the heart and was interviewed by our very own CFAX Bruce Williams. The event could not have gone better and the BDSBC was thrilled with its success.

Hats off to Clara Hughes: Evening Wine Tasting and Small Bites Celebration

As the day event wrapped up, many new faces came to the doors of the Victoria Public Market where I greeted people and welcomed them into our beautiful space.  As people smiled, tasted wines from eight peninsula wineries, and had small bites from the Market vendors, people were happy indeed.  Clara presented me with a Bell Let's Talk jersey after her captivating and heart felt speech.  Her sister lives with bipolar disorder and Clara herself has experienced some significant mental health challenges.  The night was flawless with a very successful live auction for the cause of funding the programs for the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC.  

Thank you to everyone! 

These events could not have been reached at such a pinnacle of success without the help of many people in my life.  I thank all the volunteers that helped make the night wonderful, the many live auction businesses, the BDSBC team and all the people that put their heart into these events to make them magic.

As I was on stage, Clara and I hugged numerous times and cried, I will never forget that feeling of pure gratefulness and care.  To make things even better she signed our YORK bike donated by Broad Street Cycles. We crowned her with a beautiful hat from Roberta's Hats and she shone beautifully in blue.  

In much gratitude, thank you Clara Hughes and thank you everyone.

Andrea AKA Bipolar Babe

 

Acceptance

As I ponder my diagnosis and the time that I have spent getting to where I am today, I am realizing how important acceptance is.  It is not only personal, but it is a beautiful thing to have people in your life who are accepting of the fact that you have bipolar disorder.

 I recall a time when I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without feeling a sense of overwhelming shame.  Shame that I was marked by such a stigmatized illness, that I was different, that I had experienced psychosis and gone ‘crazy’ at one point in my life.  Not too many people can say they have experienced this and frankly it didn’t make me feel special or unique.  In time and with creating Bipolar Babe I was able to utter the words “I have bipolar disorder’ without feeling such a shame but there was still a weariness around others.  I can say today I feel free to share and I suppose it may be easier for me as I have shared my story with thousands of people and plan to continue doing so.

 I have to say that the acceptance of having loved ones in my life has made the transition from shame to empowerment much easier.  I have never met a more accepting individual than my boyfriend.  I have shared some of the things that I have done due to my illness and there is not an inkling of judgement or worry.  This is rare and if you find this kind of acceptance in a partner I urge you to hang on to him/her because judging from my experience, it is rare.

 Acceptance is a beautiful thing and although there is stigma, it is not something to be feared, not only do we have to fight against the stigma out there, I highly suggest working against and abolishing the stigma within.  It is not until we raise our voices and embrace the fear of judgement that we can truly be free and accepting of oneself.     

Andrea 🙂 XO

Acceptance

As I ponder my diagnosis and the time that I have spent getting to where I am today, I am realizing how important acceptance is.  It is not only personal, but it is a beautiful thing to have people in your life who are accepting of the fact that you have bipolar disorder.

 I recall a time when I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror without feeling a sense of overwhelming shame.  Shame that I was marked by such a stigmatized illness, that I was different, that I had experienced psychosis and gone ‘crazy’ at one point in my life.  Not too many people can say they have experienced this and frankly it didn’t make me feel special or unique.  In time and with creating Bipolar Babe I was able to utter the words “I have bipolar disorder’ without feeling such a shame but there was still a weariness around others.  I can say today I feel free to share and I suppose it may be easier for me as I have shared my story with thousands of people and plan to continue doing so.

 I have to say that the acceptance of having loved ones in my life has made the transition from shame to empowerment much easier.  I have never met a more accepting individual than my boyfriend.  I have shared some of the things that I have done due to my illness and there is not an inkling of judgement or worry.  This is rare and if you find this kind of acceptance in a partner I urge you to hang on to him/her because judging from my experience, it is rare.

 Acceptance is a beautiful thing and although there is stigma, it is not something to be feared, not only do we have to fight against the stigma out there, I highly suggest working against and abolishing the stigma within.  It is not until we raise our voices and embrace the fear of judgement that we can truly be free and accepting of oneself.     

Andrea 🙂 XO

Uplifted…

A new beginning…here I stand fresh, recharged and happy.  However, a few weeks ago, I was absent from the world.  Due to a significant depression I was forced to take 2 weeks off work and it was the best thing that I could have done for myself.  Over the past month I have realized that depression is not JUST fuelled by the arrangement of chemicals in the brain.  It is so much more.  For myself, as many of you know I had been going through a break up and even though it had been 5 months, at times it had felt like a day.  Then I met the most AMAZING person – Sami.  We met at a writing workshop and hung out plenty of times since.  It is wonderful how a new friendship helped pull me out of a nasty depression.  I am so grateful for his presence in my life.  I am also grateful for my friends such as Jennifer Davies who stood by my side during the toughest of hours.  It seemed that having positive people in my life truly helped lift my depression.  Although I didn’t really exercise all that much, my psychiatrist recommended it.  I tried to muster up the energy but small walks were all I could bear, which is better than nothing!  I always remind people not to be hard on themselves for not running a marathon and a brisk walk can at times make all the difference in the world.  I began with a lot of sleeping and slowly worked my way back up to a schedule and now I am back at work.  It seemed I had really needed the sleep, but also realized that I couldn’t sleep too much as it zapped my energy.  My body came around when it was ready.  So here I am, New Years 2012.  I am so happy, excited and hopeful.  New and old friends, family that makes a difference and my strength and perseverance that always pulls me through.      

To Love or Not to Love: What a Ridiculous Question

As of late, it has come to my attention that the issue of stigma runs rampant in numerous areas of society, often in relationships when a person has a disorder, disease, virus, etc.  It is amazing that you can have a beautiful and intense connection with someone and *poof* the news is shared and things change.  There is a certain uncertainty that is born and a potential relationship may often crash and burn before it even received the chance to blossom.

Having had meaningful and significant relationships, I have had a lot of time to think about these matters.  It is disheartening and horrific when one learns that they are or may be rejected on the grounds of their health.  Rumour and hearsay are two things bred out of stigma and for some reason as human beings we tend to listen to the negative stereotypes and false beliefs that are stirred often by ignorant people and mindless conversation.

There is a lot to learn when you tell a certain individual whom you care, about your health situation and you are refused a relationship with that individual.  I often tell others that I consider bipolar disorder by cursed gift.  Funny, how this disorder as many others, can bring so much despair but in the case of love, it weeds out the ones that you never were meant to be with anyway.  Listen, if someone rejects you on these grounds, then he is proving something to you.  Not necessarily that he is a bad person but that he isn't right for you in the first place.  Love is about unconditional acceptance and truly isn't the beginning of a 'loving' relationship too?  They need to accept you for who you are AND what you have.  That is the big difference that is so trite but so right!  You are defined by who you are not what you have.  I have learned this lesson many times in my life and although I don't always get what I want, perhaps there is a higher power that is ensuring that I instead get what I need.