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There are certain things in this life which I truly enjoy in fact I absolutely delight in them.

Things such as; reading, writing, music, drawing, painting, cooking, all those kinds of things would certainly be among them but if I am honest would be lower down my list of things I delight in than say; spending time with my kids and family, getting into God’s word, having fellowship with other believers.

So yesterday was a real blessing for me.  I not only got to spend most of the day both on Skype with my family and also in God’s word preparing for Bible Study this evening but we had a family bible study (via Skype) last night as well.

jeremiah15cYep, that’s right a whole day of enjoying myself and allowing myself to do what I really delight in – family and God’s word and do you know what?  Today I am doing more of it, more preparation for this evening’s Bible Study group with my church and then the fellowship that the bible study group affords me.

And that is ok!  Honestly, I mean it.  It is alright to enjoy things and spend time doing them as long as they are safe and healthy and good for us.

It sounds silly doesn’t it? Saying that it is “alright to enjoy ourselves”, saying “give your permission to not live the label” but how many of us actually do that?

labelSome time back, I wrote another piece about labels – that piece had a slightly different approach – and I published this picture (featured left) as a reminder.

But we do take on labels don’t we?  Some good, some bad, some necessary and I think that is something which happens a lot to those of us who suffer from poor mental health.

We struggle for so long to understand what is happening to us. Likewise our friends and family – the loved ones closest to us – need to know.   So when we get a diagnosis that fits we (and they) accept it willingly but then sometimes that label takes over doesn’t it and we are expected to be that label, live that label, react how that label says people normally react.

I have as one of the conditions that I am diagnosed with, Bipolar Depression.  Am I therefore expected to walk around dressed all in black or in sackcloth and ashes half the time and then strip naked and go off on manic spending sprees the other half of the time?  After all, isn’t that some people’s understanding of Bipolar Disorder?

Likewise I have Schizoaffective Disorder, am I therefore expected to be seen wearing a tin foil hat and standing on street corners shouting at the traffic – another popular misconception of folk with Schizoaffective Disorder or Schizophrenia?

I think not, and of course I am using the extremes to emphasize my point, but the point is still valid isn’t it?

“I am more than just what is says on a label!” the above picture states and I thoroughly believe that.  And I thoroughly believe that I have the right to break free from that label and the subsequent identified normal behaviour patterns and actually enjoy myself sometimes!

Lat month my daughter Janey was with me and we got to go out to lots of different places and do lots of things that I wouldn’t normally do.  Was my mental health, indeed my physical health a constant factor in that?  Yes absolutely it was but I wasn’t going, as far as I was able, to let it/them totally control me.

My head said, “You can’t do this, you aren’t able, you don’t deserve this” but my heart said, “You are making memories and your daughter needs and deserves this and hey so do you.”

So that is my encouragement for today!  Step out from your norm!  Grab an opportunity! Dare to be different!

daretobedifferent“Try giving yourself permission to not live that label!”