Grandiose: Redefining a common symptom of bipolar The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as a state of wellbeing where every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the ‘normal’ stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. That definition surprised me a lot as I expected something more clinical sounding, with medication being the biggest form of treatment. Who would have ever thought that being unable to see your own potential was a sign of ill health. One of my fears in recovery, more than shame or stigma, was that I would not move forward and achieve things such as getting a good job and career or driver's licence (still yet to do). It’s taking many small steps to feel confident in my ability to go and get the things I want and manage my sense of well-being. My self-esteem and confidence really took a hit during my depression and I found such sweet relief in mania. Although my mania resulted in me being hospitalised I believe it taught me so much good. What if I could use ‘grandiose’ for good? I believe I needed to feel that complete sense of self-belief and self-importance for a moment. To awaken to all that was possible for and through me. It was liberating from all my fears and self doubt. I wanted to mark that experience. It changed me as a person. It told me 'you are important and how you feel is too'. The word Grandiose is usually used to describe someone who is not so nice but I’ve looked at the origins of the word and it means grand as in ‘big’, ‘excessive’ and ‘impressive’. I’d like to apply this to mean you can and deserve to live the fullness of life even with a mental health challenge. Walking out of a psychiatric facility, you run the risk of being reduced to the diagnosis you’ve been given. You are now a person living under a label. That is wrong. Where are the people saying you are not your mental illness, you are more than that! Now you can say it yourself this way through Grandiose aka 'Greater than your illness'. Whilst it’s fantastic to see celebrities and high profile people open up on our behalf for mental health, we can also do it ourselves. We can start with ourselves. When we help ourselves we can help the world. Grandiose helps tackle any shame and stigma we carry in ourselves first before that pride and compassion is received by the outer world. Realising our own greatness (potential) is a part of our wellbeing. I’m choosing Grandiose to be a guide in rebuilding my own life and want others to be a part of this journey too! I’ve put it on an ethically sourced T-shirt but it is much more than that. I will be following up with a guidebook to break the word down as an acronym with steps to recovery and realising your own greatness. If you wish to buy the T-shirts or caps you can do that here. I have chosen to donate 10% of all sales to Bipolar UK. Your donation will help provide a range of services offering the support people need, when they need it. You can make sure there's someone at the end of the phone to listen, a nearby group to share lived experiences, a 24-hour peer forum and more. Together, we can support the person behind the diagnosis of bipolar.