International Educator - July/August 2015 - 55

COURTESY OF LINEA JOHNSON

Linea Johnson

Over the three years that followed, my emotions spun
and dove making my life a whirlwind of confusion and
intensity. It was not simply bipolar, but multipolar.
Slowly however, I began to know my body and my
emotions. I began to find treatment that worked and I
became more aware of approaching episodes. Eventually
I even became stable, and stayed there. I stayed there for
so long that I even began to assume I was "healed" while
simultaneously becoming overly cautious.
It was in this state of stability that I decided to attend my
school's study abroad trip to Ireland. Being an English and
creative writing major I was more than thrilled to be reading
James Joyce in Dublin or writing poetry on the Aran Islands.
In preparing for the trip I made sure to be organized
and ready for anything.
I met with my counselor to talk about coping strategies
if I felt unsteady.
I met with my psychiatrist to make sure I knew what
to do if things went wrong, to make sure I knew the most
fragile times in my journey.
I was told about the importance of sleep to someone
with bipolar when experiencing jetlag.
I learned how to manage my medication when eight
hours of my day has been deleted, when I was required to
race through airports feeling extreme side effects.

1STOCK

I had told my teachers that I may need certain accommodations.
I told myself it would be okay.
I was ready and prepared for everything and
I was elated at my opportunity to go.
Sitting on the seawall I realized that my mind
had reached that fragile point of exhaustion and
emotional overstimulation. It was at this moment that I realized the gift I had been given.
In having a "mental health condition" (I won't
call it an illness), I am more aware of my emotions and the affect of my feelings on my body
and soul, and therefore allow myself to spend
more time thinking about my environment and
daily activities.
Though an umbrella would be the best protection, I needed to take my chances of getting drenched
and enjoy that freedom. It is in my daily life with bipolar that I realize that I cannot spend every day worrying
about stability, that I can't spend every day monitoring my
moods in order to seek the best protection.
By taking my study abroad trip to Ireland I ran out
in the rain, not completely unhooded, but aware and
prepared. I allowed myself to take chances all the while
knowing my limits and my need to find space to soak in
the meaning of the experiences.
In the end, between my hood and my awareness, I have
beaten the rain. I have navigated the things that continue
to restrict me and recognized the richness of my days,
realizing that the whole of who I am is certainly not my
condition, and that I am even more in love with the world
than ever before.
IE
LINEA JOHNSON is a graduate student at Brown University.
She is the coauthor, with her mother, of Perfect Chaos: A
Daughter's Journey to Survive Bipolar, a Mother's Struggle to
Save Her (St. Martin's Press, 2012).

Reprinted with permission from Mobility International
USA.

J U LY + AU G .15 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - July/August 2015

Degrees Without Borders
The Right Prescription for Internationalization
InBrief
Global Spotlight
Education Abroad
International Enrollment
View From Out Here
In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover1
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover2
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 1
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 2
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 3
International Educator - July/August 2015 - InBrief
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 5
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 6
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 7
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 8
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 9
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 10
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 11
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 12
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 13
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 14
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 15
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Global Spotlight
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 17
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 18
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 19
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Degrees Without Borders
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 21
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 22
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 23
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 24
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 25
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 26
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 27
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 28
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 29
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 30
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 31
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 32
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 33
International Educator - July/August 2015 - The Right Prescription for Internationalization
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 35
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 36
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 37
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 38
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 39
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 40
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 41
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 42
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 43
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Education Abroad
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 45
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 46
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 47
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 48
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 49
International Educator - July/August 2015 - International Enrollment
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 51
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 52
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 53
International Educator - July/August 2015 - View From Out Here
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 55
International Educator - July/August 2015 - In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover3
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover4
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