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We Are Powerful

Individuals living with or affected by mood disorders can often feel powerless―to our conditions, to treatment challenges, to barriers to quality healthcare, and to public discrimination. While all these factors are real, the parallel reality is that our greatest power lies within ourselves. This year, through our year-long DBSA 2016 We Are Powerful campaign, DBSA encourages peers, parents, and families to embrace or reclaim this tremendous power in our own lives; the lives of others; and the world.

 

We are powerful in our own lives!

People living mood disorders can find power in learning all they can about these conditions and the multitude of treatment options. We can take control of our lives by taking the lead in collaborative partnerships with mental health professionals. We can expect and require that the goal for our treatment is to become truly well, not simply better. We can explore and integrate personal wellness strategies into our daily lives, building on our strengths rather than our perceived weaknesses. And, we can build a network of support that can help lift us up when challenges become too much to bear alone.

We are powerful in the lives of others!

People living with or affected by mood disorders can have a powerful role in the lives of others―our peers, children, and families. We can help others by sharing our personal experiences―as a friend, a support group participant, a member of an online community, a peer specialist, and/or advocate for mental health. Helping someone navigate the often bumpy road to mental wellness can be as healing for the person offering support as for the person receiving it.  And while these actions are powerful, our voices also matter―a lot! Voicing our opinions and sharing stories of challenges as well as triumphs is one of the most powerful tools we have when advocating for changes in the way mood disorder and the people who live with them are treated―today and for generations to come.

We are powerful in the world!

People living with mood disorders have unique and special contributions to make in this world. This can be forgotten by anyone, but can be especially difficult to recall when we are gripped by debilitating symptoms of a mood disorder. We each will leave footprints on this earth that will never be seen again. Whether our footprints are as a mother, a friend, a professional, an artist, an entrepreneur, an activist, a kind soul, or something else, our presence will create ripples of impact and these ripples create more ripples.  How far they all reach we may never know or realize. Yes, our experience with a mood disorder will no doubt play a role in shaping who we are―both negative and positive―but it does not define us and it does not wash away our distinctive mark on this world.

We” is at the center of power!

It’s interesting to note that smack dab in the middle of the word power is the word "we". Individually we do have tremendous power, and harnessing that power within is our first and most fundamental step in finding or reclaiming the power in our own lives, the lives of others, and the world. But imagine the  impact we will harness when we magnify our individual power by millions―to create wellness for ourselves, our children, our families, and anyone living with a mood disorder. The power of “We” is incalculable. 

Embrace your power in 2016!

Join us this year in exploring personal power. At the beginning of each month, we’ll introduce on Facebook a different aspect of personal power for you to “try it on,” along with suggestions for helpful tools. Then, on the last Friday of each month, we’ll open the Facebook floor for you to share your thoughts with our community—our “Power Points” day. As part of your journey, you might go to DBSA’s FacingUs.org and use the online journal there to record your thoughts during the year.


Monthly Themes

February: I make goals.
Many of us sometimes feel as if we’re adrift in the world—we just don't seem to get anywhere worthwhile. The truth is we may have not spent enough time thinking about what we really want. And it’s hard to step out powerfully when we don’t know where we’re going.  Goal setting is a terrific process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision into reality.

What goals do you want to accomplish this year? They don’t have to be monstrous and earth-shaking, just things that are important to you. Write them down.  Just a few.  We’ll ask you to share your thoughts at the end of the month on our Facebook page. Look for "Power Points Friday" on February 26.


March: I take action.
Goals are terrific, especially if you act on them! Step One: just get started! Your first success will change your view on the world, your decisions, and your feelings about yourself and your personal power. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often spoke of “the fierce urgency of now.”  What could be more fiercely urgent than pursuing what is most important to you? 

What steps will you take this month toward one or more of your goals? Tell us about it on Power Points Friday at the end of the month on our Facebook page.


April: I am courageous.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face . . . You must do the thing that you think you cannot do."

So often our fears determine our outcomes. If we approach adversity doubting our ability to handle it, we’ve already surrendered. But if we believe that success is just on the other side of fear, our beliefs about both the adversity and ourselves change.

Dare to overcome. Dare to change your perspectives. Dare to live more boldly. This month, take a step outside your comfort zone and see what happens!


May: I am resilient.
Why is it that some people come back stronger than ever after they’ve been knocked down? They’ve developed that hard-to-define quality of resiliency. Psychologists say resilience is not extraordinary or inborn. It’s really quite ordinary, lying in a positive attitude, optimism, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback—all of which can be learned!

What steps can you take this month to practice some “positivity?”


June: I take care of my health.

We sometimes forget how important our physical condition is to our mental health—it’s really central to the path to wellness. And while we all know that eating right, avoiding smoking, and exercise are all good for us, the value of sleep is often underestimated. Too few hours of sleep has been linked to a host of cognitive problems as well as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. By taking care of your physical health, you truly can improve your mental health!

What can you do this month to make an improvement—however big or small—in your health? Let us know what you did and how you did it on Power Points, Friday, June 24!


July: I celebrate my wins.

When we judge the progress in our lives, we often focus on whether we’ve achieved those big, fierce goals or had a major breakthrough. These big wins are great—but they’re pretty rare. The good news is that research shows it’s the small wins that make a huge difference in how we feel and operate in our lives. These small ignite joy and motivation—and eventually add up to something big.

Recognizing ALL the wins in our lives—especially the small ones—gives us energy and the drive to keep moving toward those things that mean the most. This month, keep an eye out for ALL your wins. Take time out to give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate!


August: I can forgive.

All of us have been hurt by someone we care about—perhaps a family member, friend, colleague, or neighbor. We often brush these hurts away, thinking we should overlook them or that they really shouldn’t bother us. But they do. 

The act of forgiveness—the conscious decision to let go of resentment and any thought of revenge—can free us from these uncomfortable feelings. It can bring a peace that helps us refocus and move forward in our lives; it helps us regain our power. And that’s not all: it’s been shown to decrease symptoms of depression, strengthen the immune system, improve heart health, and a lot more. And like so many things worth doing, it’s not easy.

How does forgiveness fit into your life? If it’s not something you’re really comfortable with, experiment with it this month and see how you feel. Then report back to us on July 26, Power Points Friday!


September: I continue to grow and learn.

It’s just so easy to settle into our comfort zone, a place that’s familiar and doesn’t ask too much of us. But over time, we can grow bored and reluctant to take on the risks that make life interesting. Let too much comfort, for too long be the spark that tells you it may be time to take on a new challenge—to learn something new.
Adding to our skills and knowledge is exciting and gives us confidence. Research also shows that life-long learning helps us deal better with stress, raises our self-esteem, introduces us to new friends, and gives us a sense of purpose. And any missteps along the way, helpfully, provide their own form of learning! 

How about learning something new this month?  Dive into your passions! Learn a new skill! And how about learning more about your condition? Research also tells us that people who do this are best able to adhere to treatment plans.

Whatever you choose to do, we want to hear about it on Power Point Friday, September 30!


October: I make a difference in the lives of others.

One of the best ways to find happiness, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose and belonging in your own life is to help change the lives of other people. But how can you, just one individual, really create change? Truth is, small gestures can have a big impact—far more than you might imagine.

Hold a door for someone and you’ll see a smile. Pick up dry cleaning for a busy friend or lend an ear over coffee to a peer who is having a hard time—you’ll be the difference for them between a very hard day and one that is manageable. Venture out further and look for volunteer opportunities related to your own interests. You might even consider becoming an advocate for mental health! DBSA can show you how right here.

This month, can you harness your power on behalf of someone else? Share your story on Power Points Friday, October 28.


November: I speak up for mental health.

The late Elie Wiesel once said, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” If we are to end discrimination against people living with mental health conditions, we cannot be passive bystanders—we must have every voice raised!

There are many ways you can work on behalf of mental health according to your comfort level. You can speak up when inappropriate language is used and share accurate information with family members. You could also start a DBSA chapter or visit your state representative to share your story. Learn more about becoming an upstander for mental health at DBSA’s Advocacy Center.

How can you raise your voice this month on behalf of mental health and your peers? It doesn’t hurt to start small!  Share your experiences with us on November 25, Point Points Friday.


December: I am powerful.

Last January, we began a journey together to find or rediscover our inner power. We’ve thought a lot about goals, taking action, the benefit of forgiveness, lifelong learning, making a difference in the lives of others, and (hopefully!) proven a few things to ourselves along the way. We truly are capable of so much, both in our own lives and in how we can impact the world. It’s just a case of always remembering and believing that We Are Powerful

What was your journey toward personal power like this year? Have you thought about how you want to use it in the coming year? Tell us all about it on Power Points Friday, December 30!


There is tremendous untapped potential in each of us.  We invite you to challenge yourself this year to make changes—both big and small—to improve your own life, the lives of others, and to make the world a bit better.  It’s true—We Are Powerful!