Yay! It’s Sunday Cartoon Time!
(I know this really isn’t a trivial topic. But there’s a truth here. I realize the metaphor is silly, but bear with me.)
Meet The Meanest Monkey in the World
This is Mojo Jojo. Some of you may know him from the crazy cartoon The Powerpuff Girls. Mojo is a lab monkey that was accidentally exposed to Chemical X (which also made the Powerpuff Girls) but instead of making him a good superhero monkey, Chemical X made his brain grow to gigantically huge proportions. Now he wants to be The Most Evil Criminal Mastermind In Townsville.
Mojo Jojo is a bad monkey. A very bad mean stupid evil nasty monkey. Everyone in the City of Townsville is afraid of him. He lives in a ‘secret lab’ on top of an active volcano in the middle of town.
And what, you may ask, does a very bad and evil cartoon monkey with a flowing cape and a huge purple and white turban that contains a giant mutant brain have to do with being bipolar?
Mojo Jojo’s reason for living is the annihilation of the Powerpuff Girls. With his giant mean and evil monkey brain, he wants to take control of the city and force all the fine citizens of Townsville to bow to him and obey his slightest command. He wants to rule by keeping the population afraid of him. He rules with fear.
Being bipolar is a lot like Mojo Jojo becoming the Evil Mayor of Townsville; a chemical imbalance has taken your brain hostage. It laughs at you while lava pours down from its volcano of fearful thinking. And it makes you afraid or (worse) powerless to put that bad, mean little monkey back in jail and behind bars where he belongs. Rather than fight the powers of evil you run and hide while Mojo Jojo lets loose all the monsters that can help him to destroy. Mwah-haa-haa-haa-haa!
What monsters? There are so many to fight! Let’s see … how about the Negative Thinking Monster, The Confusion Monster, The Hide Me Hide Me Monster, The Fear Monster, The Hopeless Monster? That’s a lot of monsters!
Oh, yes. Being bipolar, it’s easy to succumb to the tyranny of that bad evil silly mean monkey. The hateful Depression Monster takes away all your energies and leaves you panting on the floor. The Hypo-Monster agitates your thoughts and gives them room to bounce around in your brain and cause all sorts of havoc.
Mojo Jojo’s ugly and mean and a bad, bad little monkey. We need a trio of heroes to save the day! Who can save the City of Townsville?
Meet Our Heroes, The Powerpuff Girls
Take that, Mojo! These three little waifs are in possession of extraordinary powers, and have the one-two punches to keep Mojo Jojo and those silly monsters away from the good people of Townsville! They’re ready to take on all evil-doers! They’re the only hope that Townsville has!
Meet Your Fearless Leader, Blossom
Blossom is a natural leader. She knows how to bring together the forces of good and use them to drive those monsters and Mojo away. She’s your therapist.
It”s your therapist that brings together all the tools, all the concepts, all the elements that you need in order to fight. Your therapist points out what dangers are lurking around, what emotions you need to work on to bring them into focus and what good things are working in your favor.
Your mental health people want you to succeed. They want you to chase away the demons out there and they want you to find a balance in the world. And having a strong team, a good psychiatrist, a good counselor or even an understanding and capable doctor is where you need to focus your immediate attentions. If you want to get better, you have to listen to leadership.
Meet Buttercup, The Girl With Iron Fists
My, my. Such an attitude for a little girl, even if she is a superhero. She’s a doer, she has strength and courage and she wants to get those monsters! Mojo Jojo doesn’t stand a chance with Buttercup chasing after him. That rotten stupid monkey’s going down! Lemme at him!
See, Buttercup is the part of you that needs to fight. And being bipolar is a fight, believe me. You fight the Stigma Monster, the Misunderstanding Monster, The Monster from the Pit of Despair. And to fight these hardcore monsters, you need to have iron fists just like Buttercup.
How can you learn to fight like Buttercup? It’s so much harder because we aren’t cartoon superheroes. We’re just people trying to get through life. But when we’re facing monsters, we need to develop the resolve to fight, the will to overcome them; we need to bring all of our superhero tools together and pound those monsters back into the pit.
Sounds easy enough. But it is this fight that’s the never-ending battle. There’s always some monster poking its head out of the ground or descending from the sky. We need to believe in ourselves or failure is the price. We might get a little beat up, a few scratches and bumps, a few bruises. That’s because sometimes we’re facing opponents that we feel are so powerful that we doubt ourselves and end up sensing defeat or worse, giving up the fight.
This is when you need to regroup with your leader and come up with an unstoppable battle plan. Then you have to get back up and fight once again. You need empowerment to do it.
Meet Bubbles, She’s Full of Joy and Laughter
Awww. What a cute little girl! Why, how could such a sweet little tot be a crime-fighting superhero with a vicious and powerful punch? Why, she has a giggle that makes everyone in Townsville laugh!
Let me tell you a secret. She’s the most powerful of all the Powerpuff Girls. She brings her super-humanity to the fight. She defends everyone with her joy. Her laughter is a rebuke to the likes of Mojo Jojo. All the bad guys think they can fool her. They think she’s weak. They think she’s the first in the fight to be defeated.
Why, it’s the focus on joy, on learning how to laugh, on fighting fear by not allowing it to swallow you that makes Bubbles such an incredibly effective fighting tool. When you’re bipolar you need every single tool that’s available to you to keep your sights on being healthy. And who doesn’t think that laughter and joy are the most effective tools in your kit?
Get In Your Cage, You Bad, Evil Monkey!
When all three superheroes join the fight, there’s no way not to win. When you have the direction from your mental health team, when you have the will and the courage to fight, and when you possess the most effective tools, you will win. You are unbeatable.
I’m really not fooling around on this. I’m speaking from experience. I was beat up by those monsters and by that evil monkey time and time and time again. It wasn’t until I began to listen to my counselor, to get up the courage to fight thanks to their leadership and to find some simple joy and laughter once again that I understood the value of working as a team.
So, the people of Townsville are saved again by the Powerpuff Girls. And I’m doing my best in the fight. Bubbles would want that of me so that when the monsters and Mojo Jojo are beaten down (for the time being) we can all finally go out and play until bedtime.