World Bipolar Day 2023

Dear you,

I would like to take this opportunity to share more about bipolar disorder. This is a lifelong mental health condition with severe symptoms which can affect all areas of your life.

You may have heard of bipolar being about low or highs, happiness and sadness.

These periods are called mania and depression.

Symptoms of mania can be:

  • feeling happy or excited without reason
  • being full of new ideas
  • racing thoughts,
  • talking very quickly
  • being more irritable than normal
  • being easily distracted
  • not being able to sleep, or feel that you don’t want to sleep
  • thinking you can do much more than you actually can
  • make unusual, or big decisions without thinking them through, and
  • doing things you normally wouldn’t do which can cause problems. Such as:
    • spending a lot of money
    • being sexually disinhibited
    • using drugs or alcohol
    • gambling or
    • making unwise decisions.

Symptoms of depression can be:

  • low mood
  • having less energy and feeling tired
  • feeling hopeless or negative
  • feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
  • being less interested in things
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • feeling restless or irritable
  • sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
  • eating less or over eating
  • losing or gaining weight, when you don’t mean to
  • thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.

(More information can be accessed at:

Some or all of these symptoms may seem strange and difficult to understand. However, these are things that millions of people with bipolar disorder struggle with in their day-to-day life.

Bipolar disorder can be managed with medication and therapy along with recognising triggers and learning coping strategies.

I hope this information helps you understand the condition better and support anyone you come across with it.

As with anything, the more openly we talk about it, the better. So if you have any questions at all, please do ask.

Judith and Holding onto Hope

New beginnings. Changes. Challenges. 

These were not easy for Judith.

It unnerved her. She preferred routine and structure. She liked her life to be organised and planned out. 

However, she had come to realise that life rarely went to plan. 

She knew change was inevitable but knowing that didn’t make it any easier. 

She also knew some people loved challenges but the uncertainty of it was difficult for her.

What if she failed? What if something bad happened? 

What if, what if… She thought about those two words far too often. 

As she tended to do when she needed some wisdom, she rang her grandpa and shared what she was thinking.

“Judith, this is why you need hope in your life. Hope keeps you going. So when you are dealing with challenges you struggle with, you need to look at it with hope… Things may go wrong but even that can lead to growth. Have hope that wonderful things can happen in your life, hope certainly makes life more beautiful and less scary, so choose hope.”

Dear you,

As we step into 2023, you may be facing many changes and challenges just like Judith. 

A new year does not mean our old problems and issues have been wiped away so chances are, we are all struggling with something or the other. 

This can seem very daunting. We have all conquered many struggles but when we are faced with something new, it can be very unsettling. 

On the other hand, perhaps you are a person who loves challenges. This could mean you are looking forward to dealing with new problems because you are confident you can deal with them. 

Whatever your perspective is, we can learn a lesson from Judith’s grandad about hope. 

Hope can change our life if only we let it. It is not wishful thinking, it goes deeper than that.

My hope is based on my faith. It gives me the strength to deal with difficulties and look forward to the future rather than be overwhelmed by it. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Chance to Change

‘Oh, what’s the point? It’s too late. I can’t change things now.’

Judith had heard sentiments like this several times before. She’d even said things like this on many occasions.

However, lately she had been struck by the notion that it was never too late to change things. 

She often found herself daydreaming about being healthier, more balanced with her emotions, more fulfilled at work, travelling more, cooking more etc. 

But often, this just dissolved into wishful thinking and dreams which never materialised. 

Easier said than done, she’d think.

As she grew older (and wiser), she had come to realise that her attitude towards these changes mattered.

Did she really want to change? Really?

If she did, she would find a way to do it rather than automatically assuming it could never happen.

Nothing worth having in life comes easy. She had definitely learnt that.

Dear you,

This time of year brings different feelings for different people.

Some may revel in the festivities, looking ahead with excitement to the new year.

Some may find it a difficult time for many personal reasons. 

Whatever our feelings are, the new year offers us a chance to start anew and make changes. If we wish to. 

But it needs to be more than merely wishful thinking. We need real determination and resolve to actually implement changes in our life.

We are all too familiar with the numerous new year’s resolutions that were never fulfilled. It could be different this time around though, there’s a real possibility of a new beginning. 

It is also worth noting that we don’t have to put pressure on ourselves to make resolutions and changes just at this time of year. It can be done on any day of any month. 

It’s never too early or too late to make a change and go after the life you want.

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Implications of Identity

‘So, where are you from?’

This was a question Judith had been asked many times. It was not an easy one to answer. 

She was never sure if the person meant where she currently lived, where she thought of as home, where she was born, where her parents were born. 

For her, all these were different places and they had all shaped who she had become today. 

Also, she felt one place did not define her. Her identity was much more complex than that. It had been influenced by many countries, cultures and traditions. 

However, she also felt conflicted in her identity when such a question was asked.

She asked herself too, ‘Where am I really from?’. 

The answer she eventually came up with was, ‘It shouldn’t matter.’ 

Dear you,

We hear a lot about combating racism in this day and age. It is shocking to think how widespread racism used to be in the past and also how it was inherently part of some societies and cultures. 

There has been a lot of progress in promoting the fact that our skin colour does not define who we are.

However, it is naive to think that racism is only a thing of the past. It still goes on.

The ways in which it manifests may be different. It could be more subtle and come out as stereotyping and generalising. It could come out as prejudice and a judgemental attitude towards some groups of people. 

Our identity is a big part of who we are. And whatever that identity may constitute, it is important that it is respected and accepted. 

The same rule applies to every single human being. They need to be seen as much more than a nationality or colour, they need to be regarded with the dignity that every human person deserves. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the History of Hurt

Judith was away on a trip.

Everything seemed to be going fine until some things from the past were brought up. Old tensions rose to the surface and arguments had broken out. Judith had distanced herself from everyone else to take some time to think.

Her friend approached warily.

‘Judith.. Are you okay?’


‘I don’t know what happened. One minute, we were playing a game. Next minute, we’re shouting at each other.’


‘How come you didn’t say anything back though? Why didn’t you stand up for yourself?’

‘Because that would only have made it worse.’

‘But he was completely out of order, blaming you for things, taking out his anger on you.’

‘That’s what happens. Hurt people hurt people. I could tell he was hurting and that’s why he was trying to hurt me. So it’s best if I forgive and respond with kindness.’

Dear you,

We have all been hurt by people and by situations. It is an inevitable consequence of life.

This affects us deeply. We may not even realise how much it affects us till it becomes evident in our lives.

We can easily take out our pain, anger, frustration on others around us. Sadly, it is often the people who are closest to us who suffer the most.

It is very easy to snap at someone. It is much harder to show restraint and rise above it.

If we’re hurt and then we hurt other people as a result, this creates a deadly chain. This is why we should always try to practice kindness and compassion in the face of pain and hurt aimed at us.

This is hard to do but it is the only way to improve the current situation as well as the future.

Remember, love will always overcome hate so let us choose the path of love.

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Legacy of Littleness

Judith was facing what seemed to be another dreary day at work. 

Some days, she wondered if what she did made any difference to anything or anyone at all. 

As a child, she had wanted to achieve big things. As a teenager, she had wanted to change the world.

And now, as an adult, she did not really know what she wanted. 

At home too, she wondered sometimes what the point of things was. 

Cleaning and cooking and washing up. As soon as it was done, it was time to do it again. 

Her cynical thoughts were interrupted by her co-worker Laura.

“Judith… You cook and bake right? Would you be able to bake some things for a charity event next week?”

“Erm yes… sure.”

“That’s wonderful, thanks so much. It’ll help raise money and make a difference to people’s lives.”

Judith reflected on this. It was not what she was expecting today but this had come about because she had been at work. 

So perhaps it did matter after all. 

Dear you,

We all want to do “big things” and make a “big impact”. However, this isn’t always possible. 

It is good to realise and appreciate that the little things really do matter. Big things are built up over time and consist of a series of small things.

It requires long term effort and perseverance. Like Judith, when we do little things such as chores at home, it can feel arduous and monotonous. 

But how we actually do little things matter. When we do them sincerely with love, they can be transformed.

It is natural to question our actions and wonder if what we are doing matters. The answer is yes, it does matter.

It may not be significant in the way you want or expect it to be. But your presence can provide encouragement to a colleague. It can provide support for a family member. It can provide comfort to the lonely. 

Sometimes it can be tiring and frustrating but the little things really do matter and your words and actions can help others more than you realise.

Let us strive to do small things with great love as St. Mother Teresa tells us to. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Peaceful Personality

Judith had arrived at a café looking for somewhere to sit.

She was asked to share a table with an elderly gentleman named Edward.

‘Hi love, I’m nearly finished. Just finishing my coffee’.

‘That’s okay, no problem.’

Edward started talking about himself and his life animatedly. He told Judith how just a few months ago, he was in despair but how things had turned around completely for him.

‘My faith, my finances, my health, my flat, everything has just worked out well.’

‘That’s really good.’

‘And you know what I’m most happy about?’

‘What’s that?’

‘Peace of mind. I finally have peace of mind. I’ve spent nearly 80 years trying to find it. And I have it now. Nothing else can compare to that.’

Judith looked back at him in awe. She too wished she had the peace of mind that was radiating from this gentleman.

Dear you,

When we talk about goals we want to achieve in life, peace of mind may not be on our list. We are much more likely to think of achievements, accolades, possessions, investments etc.

However, we soon find out that the things we thought we wanted cannot fully satisfy us. They might make us happy fleetingly but once the novelty wears off, we are left wanting some better and bigger.

Life then becomes a relentless chase of trying to acquire more and more.

The irony is that we don’t actually need more and more, we just need to appreciate what we already have.

Peace of mind comes when we are content with who we are and our circumstances.

For me, this peace is rooted in my faith.

It means that we aren’t constantly worrying and stressing about the next thing. That we are able to let things go. That we are able to forgive and move forward.

This is not an easy thing to achieve as the scenario depicts. It may even take us a whole lifetime to find some peace within ourselves. But it surely something worth acquiring and holding on to.

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and her Faithful Friend


Knowing how to navigate friendships was no easy feat.

Judith had always given a lot of importance to her friends but often, she did not understand it when she lost friends that she thought would always be around.

She knew that circumstances changed and people got busy with life and this tended to have a big impact on friendships.

Also, some friends were just part of one phase of her life such as school, college or a workplace.

She smiled warmly when she thought of the friends that had stuck around. She especially thought of her oldest friend she had had for nearly twenty years.

What was different about that friendship that meant it had lasted?

Effort. Both parties had to put in effort, a one sided friendship simply didn’t last.

Dedication and loyalty. Staying in touch when you have a million other things to do and going through the struggles of life wasn’t easy.

Honesty and forgiveness. Inevitably mistakes were made and the quicker you were to forgive, the better your friendship flourished.

And most of all, love. The firm foundation on which every good relationship is built.

Dear you,

When it comes to friendships, we can all relate to Judith’s scenario in some way.

As you grow older, the number of close friends you have tends to decrease. Not all friendships withstand the test of time.

This can be disappointing especially when friends who were so important in your life have drifted away. This may not even be knowingly. Life circumstances have led to that.

You can learn a lot from your friendships – both the successful friendships and the ones that have gone wrong.

The qualities I mentioned above are paramount. Effort, dedication, loyalty, honesty, forgiveness and love. Without these, it is hard for a friendship to be maintained over a long time.

One thing I have found useful is to ‘be the friend you want to have’. Whatever qualities you want your friend to have, emulate those qualities yourself. And if they respond the same way, you know you’ve found yourself a true friend.

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Purpose of Pain

Judith was trying to console her teenage cousin. 

It was the first time in her life that Ida, her cousin, had faced real, crushing disappointment and failure.

‘You’ll be okay. Something else will work out.’

‘That’s easy for you to say. I don’t want something else, I wanted this’. 

‘Well, I’m sorry to break it to you but life is full of disappointments.’

‘Oh great, thanks’. 

‘BUT I can honestly say that you learn more from your failures than from your successes. So I wouldn’t change any of the things I’ve failed at.’ 


‘Yeah, it’s only when you fail at something that you learn from it, change what you do and push ahead. It makes you more determined.’


‘Whereas if everything is going smoothly, I’m not learning or changing or growing. Someday you’ll look back on this failure and realise how much you learnt from it and that you became stronger as a result.’ 

Ida didn’t look convinced but Judith knew she would someday realise what she meant. 

Dear you,

None of us want to fail at things. 

Whether it be a new skill we’re learning, exams or interviews or even just playing a board game, no one wants to lose. 

But as Ida realises in this scenario, we all know that failure is inevitable.

We can try and avoid it but there will always be disappointments and failures in many areas of our lives.

This may be in our careers, our relationships and many more. 

How we respond to failure is what matters more than the failure. It is these responses that shape who we become.

We must not let small or big failures define us. We can be upset understandably but we need to look past that into what we have learnt. 

And one day, you’ll look back and realise that your failures made you the strong person who you are today. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and a Horde of Hobbies

Judith was clearing away some things from the attic.

She quickly realised that there were things in there from many years ago that she had completely forgotten about.

Trying to not cough from all the dust, she slowly started perusing the items.

She found things from her childhood, her school years and her adult life. There seemed to be such a random mix of things.

However, she noticed a similar theme running through many of them.

An unfinished painting from when she’d started to paint. Ice skating boots from when she’d started to skate and stopped soon after. Sequins and fabric from when she’d started sewing but given up.

In front of her lay many half-finished projects and ideas of hers. It made her realise that she often lacked perseverance. She had been keen to start all these things but as soon as it became quite difficult, she abandoned it and turned to something else.

She reflected that if she had only persisted and persevered, she may have been a good painter or an ice skater or a seamstress by now.

Dear you,

We all have different skills and abilities. There are so many activities and hobbies out there that we can explore.

Whatever new thing we start, there’s always a risk that it might not work out or be what we were expecting.

However, what often happens as shown by the case of Judith is that we lack perseverance.

In today’s fast – paced world, everyone is keen to move onto the next big thing.

Perseverance is not flashy. It means trying again and again, failing and then trying again. It’s definitely not easy.

But it is only by perseverance that we get better at things and are able to maintain our hobbies and skills.

So next time you start on something, try and remember to keep going. That can make all the difference.

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊