I sit on the board of directors of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance ( an organization dedicated to helping those living with mood disorders.  At our quarterly meeting in December, I sat in a room with like minded people working hard to better the lives of others.  It’s an honor to belong to such a group of good souls whose hearts are in the right place.

Belonging and Attachments

We humans are wired to belong.  Belongingness (yes, it’s a word) is a state of being an essential or important part of something: our primary relationships, our families, our friend groups and our communities, amongst others. Those living with depression and bipolar belong to the mood club.  As members, it’s true that we’ve paid our entry fees with episodes of depression and mania but…we’re in.  Because of this, we find sanctuaries filled with shoulders to cry on, nourishment for our souls and kindred spirits with whom we share our hopes and dreams.  It is only through these connections that we can be the best of whom we are. I don’t believe it’s possible to travel this pathway toward our better selves on our own.  To do so, we must belong.  Through the attachments that come with belonging, we come to know others and allow others to know us in the most genuine of ways.  What more precious gift is there?

Belonging and the Big things

This state of belongingness has allowed me to navigate through adversity.  This, in turn, has compelled me to slow down and get lost in life’s sweet little moments and, at the same time, see the larger things that matter the most:  compassion, kindness, decency, authenticity and true connection to others.

Belonging and Sacred Gifts.

Belongingness has given me precious gifts:  being my better self, knowing others and allowing them to know me, seeing myself honestly as I navigate through adversity, claiming ownership of myself without secrecy, pausing more often to smell those proverbial roses and reaffirming the deeper and most important things in life.  Belongingness has made me richer in all the ways that matter the most to me.  Belongingness has allowed me to know the love of others in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  Belongingness has given me these most sacred of gifts.  I’m very lucky to belong.

4 thoughts on “Belongingness

  1. That was so beautiful. Thank you for your heartwarming words. I believe that belonging to The Awakenings Project for the past 25 years has kept me well and out of hospital situations. Before Awakenings, I had more than 10 hospitalizations, every year or two, I was back into a bleak hospitalization. You can say no, but I beg of you to join the Awakenings board. You wouldn’t have to physically come to board meetings. You could just phone in or Zoom in. Please consider it, and let me know. Thank you so much for everything you do and everything you write. I get so much out of it. And enjoy the holidays.

    1. Hello Irene! Thanks for your kind words. We all belong in different ways that nourish and help us…and allow us to help others. So glad you’ve found your place to belong. I’m interested in speaking with you about the awakenings project. Please email me so we can exchange contact info and then speak, ok?

  2. Thank you John for sharing such an enlightening post. On reading I recognise all the ways that these qualities were missing in my life leading to my bipolar hospitalisations. I do not belong to any dedicated group but in this 20 year remission period I find ad hoc connections.
    Seasons greetings to you and yours and wishes for a healthy and peaceful new year.

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