A single thought continues to interrupt the chaos of my every day life: Doing laundry, a task at work, walking on the treadmill, doing the dishes, reading, you name it. My mind begins to drift in those little moments, the thought forms and settles, and with a sigh and a small smile, I listen to what it says, “I feel so good.”
It is then, by habit, I mentally go through the checklist of warning signs that I am hypomanic: racing thoughts, over-spending, over-planning, lack of sleep, unfinished projects, feelings of euphoria, grandiose ideas, easily irritated, and rapid speech. I continue to leave every box unchecked.
It now has occurred to me that I continue to struggle with acceptance. The fact that I can feel this clear-headed and decisive is something I have never experienced before. For weeks I have struggled to put a label on what I’m feeling and it occurred to me, I’m feeling normal. I have mixed emotions with this revelation. I feel happy to have finally reached the top, to have finally healed enough to do so… for that I can not express how thankful I am. I feel worried that my depression or a hypomanic episode may slip in to remind me of why I am medicated. I feel resentment because if I had felt like this all my life, where would I be today. I wrestle with these thoughts while I constantly remind myself that, if it wasn’t for all the crazy horrible shit I went through, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And the truth is, no one has ever moved forward thinking about the what-ifs.
I’m sorry if I am starting to sound like a broken record. To the average person, you experience this daily but for someone with a mental disorder, we only get a taste here and there and we are always aware that it doesn’t last forever. If we take a look back on my life, to a point when I would have been “normal,” I would have been a child. I would have been 11, which was before I was sexually abused by my father… before the spiral began. When your 11, your not intellectually, emotionally, or even physically developed. You are still learning and growing. My emotional maturity suffered because when a traumatic event happened at the age of 12, I was busy being in survival mode instead of learning to grow up. So for the last 8 years, since my diagnoses and when I started to work towards healing, I’ve basically been learning everything that I missed out on all those years. I’ve been learning to walk again.
Yes, I’ve been stable before but looking back, I wasn’t entirely there. I was still consuming alcohol every weekend. Quitting booze, eating better and taking the proper vitamins are some big factors that have brought me to this new normal. My psychologist, who really is amazing, told me to minimize my drinking but I feel she should have stressed the negative effects it has on people with mental disorders. It was something that she didn’t discuss seriously so I didn’t take it seriously. It took quitting to understand the effects, how serious they actually are and how long they last. I’m not ever going to tell anyone to quit drinking, but if you are feeling like shit you gotta lay off the booze. I promise you, it will be worth it. Then jump back on that saddle when you are ready. Don’t forget, alcohol is a depressant, you can’t use it to heal depression.
All these changes I’ve been making have brought me to feeling grounded, content and normal. It’s exciting, overwhelming, strange, scary and so fucking relieving. I’ve been struggling accepting that it’s okay to be this way, it’s real that my Bipolar mind is tamed, it’s okay to relax! I’m so used to obsessing about my feelings and living in constant fear and obsessing about when another episode will hit. I have never noticed how much I am on constant high alert. I need to understand that I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, take it day by day and just simply enjoy the peace. I know I must sound fuckin crazy to anyone who doesn’t have a mental illness or disorder because you wouldn’t understand. It’s just very new to me. I’m literally taking baby steps, making sure I am balanced enough before I start running.
I’m 28 years old, meaning its been 17 years of struggling to get back to this, this scary yet amazing mental balance. When it has been so noisy in my brain for so long, you can imagine how intimidating the calm is. It’s something you have yearned for for so long but knew you could never have it… until you do. It scares the shit out of me. Too good to be true so that is why I fight it. So please be patient with me while I learn to accept this new “normal.” Until then I will continue reminding myself…
I feel so good.