Now that I’m coming out of my depression my thinking is becoming a lot clearer and more focused. This is definitely a good thing as I’ve been so clouded for such a long time and really struggled with basic functioning. But there’s a bad side to this too. I’m thinking more realistically and can better understand just what I’m facing. My mood is good, but the fears and doubt are back.
Of course I’ve already mentioned my financial situation. I’m worried that I won’t be able to meet my bills, much less have any cash left over for any entertainment. I’ve gotten used to be able to go out on a fairly regular basis; it’s going to be difficult to give that up. I’m much better about spending time alone, but I don’t want to go back to being by myself the majority of the time. Even not having gas money could keep me home and unable to visit friends. And I have to find a way to continue paying for my medications. I am starting to respond to my current regimen and cannot afford to quit taking any of them.
I’ve talked about my job a lot too. Even though my pay has been significantly reduced, the new job is a lot more complicated and has a higher work load than before. I’m still very easily distracted and my energy level comes and goes; am I going to be able to keep up? I can barely afford to live on what this job pays, how can I make it if I have to go back on unemployment?
I’m worried about my Car. It’s almost 13 years old with 135k miles. That’s not a lot of miles considering the age of the car, but I must have reliable transportation to be able to make it to work and I’m afraid of what will happen if I start to have problems. I’m not worried without cause; the engine is starting to make some new, unexplained noises and the suspension obviously has problems. I’m financially not in a position to have it checked out, much less able to afford any major repairs.
I’m actually feeling very confident about my ability to make dates and have a favorable impression and early connection with someone. I’m a good man, and I know that I can offer a lot to a relationship, especially in the beginning. But I doubt myself that I’ll be able to maintain anything long term if and when it gets to that point. Historically I’ve never been able to keep a relationship healthy and happy; I have four ex wives that will attest to that. How can I think this time it will be any different? I’m in no hurry to jump into a new relationship, but I do want to get there eventually and I have no doubt that I’ll be able to develop something more serious over time. But knowing how it’s always turned out, is it fair to put someone else through all that? Haven’t I hurt enough people? Am I just destined to end up alone?
My biggest fear is where is my disease going to take me next? I have serious doubts that I’m going to be able to successfully maintain my symptoms and have stability and control. I’ve not been able to do it yet. Being in a good place now I can see just how much my illness impacts my life. Bipolar disorder is a very serious disease; the depressions can be completely incapacitating, and the mania is destructive and even dangerous. If the past is any indication, my mood will move up from depression through a brief period of normalcy, and then straight into a manic episode. How I’m feeling now could just be a part of my cycle, and I could easily be headed into the next phase. How long can I continue to go through the ups and downs that are defined by this illness?
With my clearer thinking I am able to worry about things that I just didn’t care about when I was so depressed. I can see the potential for failure, and understand the consequences that could result. I realize that I’m on the brink of disaster and could find myself in serious trouble if any of the fears come to pass. I know it’s a very real possibility that I’ll never find the healthy companionship that I crave. My illness may never be contained and I could already be headed into the next cycle.
But I’m not just thinking clearer, I’m thinking rationally.
My finances may be getting tighter, but I have the ability to plan a budget that allows me to do the things I need to do. I’ve already worked with my Doctor about being on the cheapest medications I can and still have the results I need. So far I’ve been able to reduce my monthly drug cost by over $200.00. I can reduce other expenses and manage the money I have better. I can figure it out. I can protect my job by making sure I stay as healthy as possible. And my history has been that I’m in a continuous cycle, but now that I have the awareness I can take more active steps to bring it and keep it under control. I’ve already conquered my latest depression, now I need to focus on not becoming manic. I can look for the signs and work with my medical providers before things get out of control. I do know I’m worthy of a healthy relationship. I’m utilizing a lot of time with my Therapist to learn how to manage my interactions with others and focusing on developing healthy behaviors. I’ve learned a lot about my illness over the past year, and now that I’m in a better place I can put that knowledge to use to find the stability I know is possible.
It’s not unreasonable to have worries and doubts. But if you don’t, you’ll never have the chance to find ways to deal with the problems in a reasonable and healthy way. Yes, I’m feeling a lot better emotionally. But even more important, I’m feeling a lot better rationally. Fear and worry are a part of everyone’s life. I may have my share of worries, but now that I’m in a healthier place,
I’m not worried that there’s anything I can’t handle.