And here we are, starting off another year. Last year I was reminded that being bipolar doesn’t go away just because you are happy.
Yes it is much harder to deal with if you are unhappy, but happiness does not cure me of being bipolar. In a way this was a harder lesson than any before. It’s been years since I’ve been truly happy in all aspects of life, so every time my chemical balance shifted in a way that I sunk into depression it was easy to “blame” my unhappiness or the parts of my life that left me unfulfilled.
I’m not saying 2017 was a perfect year. I had life trials to endure and defeat. I was still adapting to being a single mother of a teenage boy as well as helping him adapt to the changes and realizations that me becoming a single mother brought into his life.
I also had to learn to trust again – trust that I was deserving and “good enough” to be part of another’s life. The end of 2016 gifted me by bringing a wonderful man into my life and for the first time since I ended my 21 year marriage, I was interested in allowing another to enrich my life via a personal relationship.
So, yes, 2017 had its challenges, but overall, it was a great year. What’s my point? As I mentioned above, that despite all the good, I still found myself stumbling, having depressive episodes and struggling to come out of the dark. I was still indeed, bipolar.
It was super easy to credit my depressed episodes to the circumstances in my life up until this last year. A year when there truly weren’t any circumstances to blame. I have a wonderful son and family, I have a fantastic (more than fantastic, more than amazing, no words can describe) man romantically in my life, I have a job that I enjoy with a respectable employer that treats me well, a few true friends; essentially, my basic needs are met and then some. Yet I still found myself struggling with depression.
Well, duh, you dumbass, you are an individual living with bipolar disorder, a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior. Yes, circumstances can influence the intensity of such a disorder, but is not the cause.
That was my hardest pill to swallow during the past year. That despite all the wonder I have in my life, I can still find myself feeling low and hopeless. (Yes I realize I am mostly addressing the depression side of bipolar, but let’s be real, most of us don’t mind being manic. At least not until after mania has passed and we are picking up the pieces of anything we managed to shatter during the episode.)
It wasn’t easy to accept, and it took me almost the entire year to get there, but I do accept it. Partially because I was shown that it’s okay if I am not perfect, I am still loveable even during my imperfect phases; that despite what experience had taught me in the past, not everyone will just turn a blind eye or walk away and leave you to struggle. And as a result of that, my bits of sanity kicked in and I remembered that being bipolar makes me who I am! Not just the sad, hopeless depressed parts, but all of me and who I am – my compassion for others, my creativity, my sense of humor, etc. And when I can step back and look objectively at the entire picture, I like who I am struggles and all.
So here’s to being bipolar! And here’s to a fantastic upcoming year for us all!!!