Welcome to Chipur! If you’re struggling with a mood or anxiety disorder, you’ve come to a good place. Dig-in, okay? Thank you for stopping-by. Bill

A Badge of Honor to Each and Every One of Us!

Bipolar Disorder

In the wake of Memorial Day, I’d like to award some badges of honor. Millions of them, actually. So if you’re dealing with fallout from bereavement, depression, chronic stress, bipolar disorder, anxiety, compulsive behavior probs, PTSD, or other emotional/mental woes – step forward to be adorned.

“Always knew you were a little quirky, Bill, but now I’m worried about you. I deserve a badge of honor? For what? Oh, I know – for honorably screwing-up my life and the lives of those I’ve come in contact with. That must be what you mean.”

Well, not exactly…

You sure seem to have the stops along your supposed failure-trail down-pat, don’t you? Okay, fine. But now I want you to transition from the stops to the fallout from all those supposed failures – the internal and external scars. I’m thinkin’ they generate buckets of aggravation and self-loathing, so maybe it’s time for fresh perspective.

Drawing a blank on those scars? How ‘bout some help?

  • The marks on your skin from self-injury or a suicide attempt
  • The emptiness you feel because of that loving relationship blown-to-bits
  • Those migraines
  • The look of horror on your face when you walk into a roomful of people
  • The extra 40 pounds you carry because of the meds
  • The feeling of total worthlessness because you lost that job
  • Those broken or cracked teeth from constant grinding
  • That embarrassing lip-smacking from years of antipsychotic use
  • The extra wrinkles on your face, and the darkness and bags under your eyes
  • That nasty cough from smoking
  • The trembling generated by your chronic anger
  • The cirrhotic liver from excessive drinking

Catch my drift? What about your scars? Perhaps you’d share in a comment (Yes?)?

Okay, so now that they’ve come to the fore, I’m sure your first reaction will be to reject them as the very emblems of shame and disgrace. However, I’m challenging you to embrace them as badges of honor – all.

Fact is, you earned those scars in the heat of battle. Self-inflicted? Oh, I suppose in the most literal sense. But when it’s all said and done, I’m not thinking you really wanted to harm yourself, or anyone else.

Right?

In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end…

Insight | Encouragement | Hope

As long as we’re on the subject of suffering and scars, I’d like to offer some insight, encouragement, and hope.

20th century psychotheorist Dr. Viktor Frankl is one of my heroes. Being a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, this is someone who intimately knows suffering. Who better to teach us a thing or two? Some of his wisdom from his book Man’s Search for Meaning

If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life.

In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end. In other words, life’s meaning is an unconditional one, for it even includes the potential meaning of unavoidable suffering.

Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decided whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.

It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.

And there’s this from a Frankl favorite, 19th century Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.

Hmmm, so those sufferings and scars of yours. Fallout from bereavement, dysthymia, chronic stress, bipolar disorder, OCD, anorexia, psychosis, or another emotional/mental downer…

Nah, they aren’t failings, rather signs of a battle bravely fought – and won. I mean, (you may not be doing jumping-jacks, but) you’re reading this, right? I say you merit a badge of honor – if not several.

Come on, be proud. Step forward to be adorned.

Looking for more insight, encouragement, and hope? Tons of Chipur titles to cast your eyes upon.

  • Megan Snider

    Really nice article, Bill! Weird that so many things in the article brought up things for me.

    • Sure appreciate the props, Megan. Spent quite a bit of time thinking about my clients – and me – as I put together that list. Wear your badge proudly, okay? Thank you for your faithful visits and participation. Come on back…

      Bill

  • Patricia Miller

    This is once again a powerful piece that zooms in to the heart of the issues….and my heart. “Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of my favorite books ever and you hit on favorites in your article. One of my favorites is from page 44, “…a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas; if a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size of human suffering is absolutely relative.” I’ve always loved this quote because it removes the “comparison” aspect of how bad it is/was….however bad you feel or have felt is bad enough. The corollary must then be that any of us can also feel GOOD/BETTER to that same degree. Joy, happiness or peace can fill us the same way as suffering has in the past/present. Healing and hope are always a reality.

    I am always so appreciative of the wisdom you share with us Bill and thank you for encouraging us to share with one another in this forum too.

    • Once again, the very purpose of Chipur is underscored. Your comment is wonderful, Patricia. So relevant. What a great help it will be to anyone who stops by. I appreciate your sharing a little extra from Frankl’s wonderful book. Can’t get enough of a good thing.

      I’m thankful I can offer Chipur to those in the midst of tough times. And I’m thankful for faithful visitors and contributors like you…

      Bill

  • Sue Ledet

    Just sitting and reading a mystery novel the other day and came across this. It blew me away and I think ties in to what you’re saying. It was just some lines in the book, not a quote (except from the author).
    “Take life as it comes.
    Life spares no feelings.
    Limits no pain.
    Puts no ceiling on happiness.”
    It spoke to me and my situation so well. Says it like it is, I guess. Having my granddaughter right across the hall in this hotel sure has put no ceiling on my happiness. Nothing like a 7 year old saying “Bigmom, you’re weird” to bring you back to earth……

    • Patricia Miller

      I love it Sue! You are totally correct in both your quote from the book and your observation that seven year olds are excellent reality people. What I also like about those chipper (Chipur?) seven year olds is that the reality they frequently bring into my life IS happiness. It sounds like she is bringing a lot of that joy and happiness into your life as well.

    • Sure does say it like it is, Sue. Thank you for stopping-by and sharing with us. I’m just thrilled your granddaughter is bringing you such joy. And I’m sure you bring tons of the same to her. Nothing like the straight-up honesty of little gals and guys – so refreshing. You worked so hard to have her by your side, and I couldn’t be happier for the both of you.

      Please continue to visit and contribute, Sue. It’s a pleasure having you here. Thank you…

      Bill

  • Time and again I have had to replay the words from the AA Promises “we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it… experiences can benefit others.” And yes, once we are on the road to healing; knowing we have wounds and noting that these are the badges of perseverance and a desire to be better, the fact that we continue to strive for healing by finding resources “you’re reading this, right?” is testimony to our victory. Great column. NOW: How do I do those “call out” boxes?

    • Hey, Kyczy – sure appreciate your visit and comment. Yes, we are the victors – if only we could cut ourselves some slack. Hmmm. Ah, you like those “call out” boxes, huh. Been wanting to use them for some time and finally cleared enough brain space to move forward. They’re called pull quotes. Plenty of html and css code for a variety of designs out there if you search for something like “How do you do pull quotes?” I got frustrated with it (for now) and turned to a plugin. If you need more info, just drop me a line at bill@chipur.com, k? Peace…

      Bill

  • Candace

    Hi Bill – with all the nasty stuff going on in the world these days, what you’ve put forth is a breath of fresh air! Okay, here are the badges of honour I deserve: growing up with a classically narcissistic mother who taught me to not believe in or trust myself – and working hard to rise above that; being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the young age of 23 and having lived with it daily for 4 decades – and learning how to live as healthy a life as I could with my limitations; and becoming addicted to the many painkillers that were prescribed to me for Crohn’s (and let’s not forget the pot that I also abused on a daily basis for many years) – and making the choice to come out of active addiction into active recovery 27 years ago next month. Although my life has not been a picnic by any stretch, I wouldn’t be who I am without any of these challenges – and today I like who I am. So in a strange kind of way, I’m grateful for all of it. Thanks for the reminder to look at life this way, Bill!

    • Hey, Candace! Powerful sharing, for sure. You, like all of us that frequent Chipur have endured much. And though scarred are striving for betterment. That in and if itself merits a badge of honor. Let’s wear them with pride. We are the champions!!! Thanks for the visit and participation…

      Bill

  • Beth Wilson

    Holy cow, I’m so relieved to know that all the suffering in my life is not for naught! Good stuff, Bill! Our friend Herby and I had a similar conversation yesterday about how there is beauty in our f-ed up’d-ness. The slick and tricky part is in learning to be okay . . . to sit in the doo-doo until it’s time to rise.

    As always, love your stuff!

  • You so nail it every time, Bill! Though my battle was not with a mental disorder in the “traditional” sense but rather secondhand drinking – everything you’ve described fits my journey to a “T.” And though we have no concept while going through it, the very fact we make it out the other side is a WIN! I loved your statement, “…they aren’t failings, rather signs of a battle bravely fought – and won.”

    • Ah, just call me the hammer, Lisa. Thank you for the compliment. I’m thinkin’ having been around the block a few times helps. Kudos to us all! Thanks so much for your loyal visits and contributions…

      Bill

  • I think you’re reading my mind sometimes, Bill White–and I like it. And since you’ve given me permission to be in the quirky zone…one of my fave things is to ask tattooed one’s to tell me the story of a particular tattoo. They’re usually thrilled that someone would ask and the tats always seem to be badges of lifetime honor with the attendant solid complement of the pain in the story, and that of actually getting the visible “badge.”

    As I read your examples, I began to move my consciousness around my own mind-body and as I notice these badges, I agree, they are truly honorable and full of Life–its shadow and light.

    This post feels Whole with much to savor. I’ll share it with great appreciation to you, Bill.

    • Well, Herby, I’ve been called many things in my career – mind-reader ain’t one of ’em. But, hey, if the feeling’s there, we’ll roll with it. Cool point about the tats. Yes, the stories are often significant – true badges of honor. You know, I get so tired of folks telling me how ashamed they are of their inner and outward scars. Absolutely no need to feel that way. Rather, chin-up, chest-out. They were earned – and most folks who were faced with similar circumstances wouldn’t have survived. Period!

      Always, Herby – thank you for your visit and participation…

      Bill