One morning, I woke up feeling somewhat upset. I wondered why I’d be feeling this way. The more I thought about it, I soon discovered what the source of my emotional discomfort was. I then proceeded to acknowledge its existence and without further belaboring the point, I decided to let it go.
Since I live with a bipolar disorder, I thought that it might be time for me to, once again, complete the Quality of Life (QoL) self-assessment tool developed by CREST.BD (Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder). This questionnaire includes statements pertaining to a variety of experiences, behaviors and emotions related to quality of life; it’s part of the Bipolar Wellness Centre.
Once I easily tracked it down on the website and signed in for its completion, I took my time in doing so. Fortunately, I found it quite easy to complete. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I was presently functioning quite well in most categories despite my initial discomfort. That, in itself, made me feel much better. But how did I become aware of the existence of this beneficial self-assessment tool?
It all started in early 2015 when the Manic Depressive Association of Ontario informed me that the CREST.BD was organizing a workshop on bipolar disorder to be held in Ottawa on May 30, 2015. To be honest, I hesitated in attending this workshop but I’m glad I decided to register despite my initial reluctance to do so. I must admit that when I first arrived at the meeting room I was quite anxious to be there. However, within a matter of minutes, I was made to feel at ease thanks to the warm welcome the participants received from the organizers of the workshop. We immediately felt valued by the fact that we were being invited to collaborate in a research project to study the psychosocial issues of living with a bipolar disorder. What impressed me the most about this workshop was the fact that the participants were treated as equal partners throughout the evening.
I left this evening keen on learning more about how to more effectively cope with my bipolar disorder. I thus decided to further explore what additional tools were available on CREST.BD’s website. I first completed their QoL tool, which permitted me to easily assess how I was managing in various key day-to-day life areas such as: self-esteem, leisure, sleep, work, cognition, spirituality, relationships, mood, money, independence, relationships, etc. It was encouraging to discover what results the completion of this QoL tool revealed to me, not only about the life areas that I was doing well with but also those areas that I needed to pay particular attention to. I’ve since completed the QoL tool on different occasions and have found this exercise to be most rewarding. Now, more than ever, I had to further explore what additional tools I could explore and learn from on the BD Wellness Centre website. Not only was I totally impressed with what I discovered, I found their additional tools and materials to be very helpful. I strongly recommend them to all persons living with a bipolar disorder.
Shortly after participating in this workshop, I was invited by CREST.BD to join their Community Advisory Group (CAG) as a person living with a bipolar disorder. This group, composed of healthcare providers, people with BD, and members of the community at large, is dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life of persons living with BD. I joined the CAG during the summer of 2015. Once again, I was treated with respect and as an equal partner. My input was actively encouraged. As a Franco-Ontarian, I submitted articles in French and English for inclusion in their blog. I participated in all their CAG meetings. Since then, CREST.BD has become a significant lifeline for me in helping me live well with BD and I’ll remain forever grateful to them.
*French version available.