November marks 14-years since I left the inpatient psychiatric unit for the last time after a difficult bipolar diagnosis and 2-year mental health battle that began in 2006. I am grateful to be able to celebrate this milestone. It is a significantly meaningful anniversary that reminds me to pause and consider what I am doing to continue thriving and inspiring others to do the same.
There is a cause and effect relationship between what we do and how we feel. Good deeds fuel good feelings!
I define good deeds as things that are simultaneously good for us and the world around us—or at the very least things that don’t harm the world around us or ourselves.
I have been busy this year and want to share the good deeds I have been working on and how they have made me feel. I haven’t had time to write many posts for this website or the International Bipolar Foundation this year, but I assure you my passion for being a champion who helps others find health and happiness so they can thrive in this life has not dwindled.
In the first half of the year I worked to write, Shine Bright: Seeking Daylight in the Darkness. That best-selling publication led me to contribute to an article with a psychiatrist and a large health system that will be released in March 2023 in conjunction with World Bipolar Day. The article will feature my experience with bipolar disorder, plus strategies and resources to help patients and families. This opportunity is exactly what I want to do and I am excited to think of the lives it will impact for good. It is fulfilling to think a young patient recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder may be able to read about my experiences and feel hopeful about their future.
In addition, last weekend I recorded a podcast for American Real sharing my story and important messages for wellness and self care. I am excited for the episode to be released! The program offers wonderful stories from a wide variety of individuals who have overcome adversity and are living inspiring lives. It is a great honor to be a part of this uplifting series.
I connected with a group of like minded professionals in my industry to become a founding member of Event Minds Matter, a global community of like-minded event professionals working together to create a brave space to open the conversation on mental fitness in the sixth most stressful job. We jointly hosted a virtual TalkFest in October bringing together event professionals from all over the world and supporting them with ideas to help better manage their time and skillfully care for their well-being while meeting workplace demands. My involvement in this group brings me hope that the future of our workplaces will be healthier and focused on employee wellness and support.
My strategies for time management were featured in an industry magazine. How One Events Industry Professional Created Balance in Her Work Week highlights great strategies for anyone struggling to fit 80 hours of work into a 40 hour week. It pleased me to contribute to this article and encourage others to set boundaries and effectively communicate their limitations. Successful capacity management is a vital skill for all of us to master so we can thrive.
In August, I began a graduate program to pursue a master’s degree in management, leadership, marketing and brand management. I was able to contribute to an article in the September student newsletter during suicide awareness month. Daylight in Darkness linked to resources at the university that could help students who are struggling. Features like this are incredibly important to me because the more transparent I can be about my struggles the more individuals will feel connected to the world around them. None of us are alone, none of our struggles are unique. Someone has been there and found a way through to the other side. We can learn so much from one another.
September brought another opportunity to share my commitment to mental health with an industry newsletter written by HopSkip as a part of the Planners Moving Forward Series. In the interview I mention carefully considering the number of hours it takes to be successful and achieve work/life balance.
It has been a whirlwind of a year! I am excited about these opportunities to become more involved in the mental health movement. I am grateful for the new connections I have made and thrilled about the possibilities that lie ahead. Looking forward to 2023 I am eager to continue this progress. On a personal note, Tony and I are planning to spend the first quarter of the year in Mexico to have an immersive cultural experience. I am eager to see how our adventures living and working abroad for an extended period of time will shape our future and reframe our mindsets. I am also looking forward to the traditional food, low cost seafood, and fresh produce!
As my lifelong learner journey continues, I am currently listening to the audiobook Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey because I absolutely feel the pull of so many competing priorities. I am maintaining my sleep schedule and have added a morning and afternoon meditation to my routine. Those practices are helping me restore my peace and calm throughout the day. The mental breaks allow me to pause and remember my priorities while minimizing stressors that could otherwise derail my progress, happiness, and peace.
I encourage you to read more about how pursuing our passions makes us happier in Why Following Your Passions Is Good for You (and How to Get Started). In The New York Times article, Andrew Rea describes barely being able to get out of bed before focusing on his passions. He states, “If you open yourself to new experiences by gradually stepping outside your comfort zone, you can find the things that truly make you happy….and whether those things become hobbies or your life’s work, pursuing your passions can give you a renewed sense of meaning and accomplishment.” In addition, the article cites a 2015 study published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine which found that pursuing your passion both lowers stress and contributes to greater happiness.
“Study participants who focused on engaging in hobbies were 34 percent less stressed and 18 percent less sad.”
2022 has been incredible. I have learned that focusing on what matters to me has produced greater happiness. Even though I have been busier than ever, I have achieved far more and helped others. I appreciate your notes of gratitude sent on Instagram, Facebook, and through email sharing how my experiences and suggestions have made incredible differences in your lives. Receiving those reminders keeps me going—thank you!
Tell me what you’d like me to write about next by sending an email to shine@DaylightandDarkness.com.
Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons and the best of the New Year in 2023!
I’ll leave you with a gift—one of my favorite quotes from fashion designer Kendra Scott, who I had the privilege to hear speak at a virtual event a little over a year ago. She described this wisdom from her step father—you do good—which she has developed into:
“We all have the power to leave this world better than we found it.
It is our responsibility to use the talents we’re given to create good in the world around us.”Kendra Scott