One of the issues that is hard to deal with when you are diagnosed with bipolar is the fact that you aren’t “normal.” There is a stigma that goes with being mentally ill and so people don’t talk about it, family tries to hide it, ignore it or deny it, patients live with a sense of shame and guilt not to mention confusion and inner struggles at a daily existential crisis level.
Here is a secret. There is no such thing as normal. The truth is everyone has something that they are dealing with in their lives; something that trips them up, fills them with dread, makes them fearful or secretly rules their life. I realize that up until now I have taken you on an almost schizophrenic, drug-addled, William S. Burroughs”esque,” kind of ride. Here is why. I can only tell my story, (we all have one), because it is all that I know. I have given you snippets. Little places, and events in time and space that have been turning points for me, epiphanies if you will and I needed to tell those snippets so you will have some context for some of my future endeavors.
I also know that how I perceived things and how my siblings or even my parents perceived these same events are radically different from the perspectives of the other individuals involved. I did not share to incite anger, provoke pain, or out of some sort of perverse need for pity. I did it in order to humanize myself.
I have had issues (still have a few). I have struggled, I have made incredibly stupid decisions that have resulted in more heartache and financial turmoil than was necessary. I have allowed those decisions and the fear that surrounded them to keep me in a self-imposed prison for a large portion of my life. I have played the role of victim, and victimizer. I have feared and fled my problems. At times callously ignored them or blamed others for them.
We eventually reach a point where we break under the weight of it all and we discover that what we deemed unworthy, all that we feared, or ignored, ran from or blamed on others, was in actuality all us. We are the greatest common denominator in our life. We created the hell that we are living in. Here is the truly magnificent part of this, if you created it, chose it, then you have the power to create something new, and start choosing differently.
It would have been easier for me to start this blog spreading all the New-Age Unicorn poop in all its glittery, rainbow glory but lots of people are already doing that. It is wonderful that they discovered how this universal system works but they skip something very vital to the process. They give you only the results or gifts (manifestations), the fruits of their labors without sharing the struggles. The lessons are in the struggles. Learn the lesson, master the Self and the struggle subsides, even ends.
As difficult as it may be for some of you to read my story, it is even harder for me to put myself back into an emotional and spiritual state that no longer exists for me. If honest, my new understanding of life actually makes my past psychotic breaks look like a petting zoo. Having a tenuous grasp on reality actually made me question what “reality” is and I am sure that over the next few months I am going to cause a bit of cognitive dissonance with my posts.
I have discovered that having Bipolar Disorder was actually a strength. It shouldn’t be stigmatized, hidden or ignored. It should be shared, discussed, understood. I realized about year three or four of my recovery journey (I am currently at year 13) that what I had learned through my struggles with this illness actually could be applied to any struggle in life. The management tools aren’t mutually exclusive to Bipolar.
Thank you to all of you that have been following, reading, commenting and sharing. I appreciate it and hope that you continue to do so. From here on out I will be focusing more on recovery and less on the angst of it all (unless it is leading up to a point).
Photo: The Beauty in Small Things (3/10); Shimla, India. Nikon DSLR5300, Zoom lens, no filter by Pamela