All in all, it hasn’t been that long that I’ve been this stable. It was just a year ago that I was headed into another bad depression. And I was hospitalized after a near fatal overdose only nine months ago. Even though things have been steadily improving since then, there have been plenty of moments where I’ve lost control and slipped back into the craziness. It all happens so fast.
But I have to remember.
I think it’s a common occurrence that when you’re bipolar, once you get to feeling better you start to question whether it’s really as bad as it seems. I catch myself thinking that maybe the diagnosis was wrong, and that I’m not as sick as the Doctors seem to think. Maybe I was just reacting to bad circumstances and my behaviors were as a result of being overwhelmed. I wasn’t really that crazy, was I? I’m so normal now.
Oh sure, there have been all those hospitalizations. And there has been more than one suicide attempt throughout the course of my life. But that was just the depression, right? And everybody gets depressed at some time. I’m just a little more susceptible than others. I am a sensitive man after all; it only stands to reason that I feel more strongly than those who are not as in touch with themselves. Yes, there have also been times where my exuberance has caused some troubles, but I just have a high zest for life. I get so excited when things are going well; that’s not so bad, is it? I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a neat freak. Who could blame me for getting a little anxious when I can’t find something where I know I’ve left it? And there’s nothing wrong with keeping the bed made and putting away every dish as soon as I’m done with it. Keeping things just so is just a good trait. The anger is completely understandable too. There are SO many idiots out there that do so many stupid things. It should piss everyone off.
Okay… I’ve been married four times. But each one is completely explainable. I got married too young; the second one was just crazy; number three was a bitch and the last one was never who I thought she was. I’ve just made some poor choices, that’s all. That’s not crazy.
Who am I kidding? I’m fucking crazy.
Maybe everybody does go through periods of sadness from time to time, but that doesn’t mean they’re depressed. And depressions aren’t supposed to last month after month; or year after year. There have been things I’ve done when in the grips of a manic episode that would scare the hell out of people… if they only knew. It’s one thing to be excited; it’s something else altogether to go days and days without sleep because of the boundless energy. And the dark thoughts; I’ve had so, so many dark thoughts. Getting mad at everyday annoyances is understandable. Exploding in uncontrolled rage is not. I’ve taken so many medications throughout the years. The doctors treating me must have known something or they wouldn’t have prescribed them. The fact that most of the medications haven’t been effective isn’t a sign that they weren’t needed; it is an indication of how difficult it is to control my symptoms. I have a severe, life threatening illness. My entire life has been defined by this disease. I’ve lived on the brink of disaster. There has been so much lost and opportunities wasted. I have caused so much pain to so many others. I have destroyed lives. It’s the grace of God that no one has been severely injured, or even killed because of my intense fury.
At times, this disease has made me a monster.
The damage I’ve done to myself has been immense. There are medications I can’t take because I’ve overdosed on them and changed the way my body reacts. Self medicating with alcohol has led to excessive use and abuse. I can only imagine what my liver and lungs look like. There have been many broken bones from punching and kicking and lashing out during a manic rage. I’ve never physically attacked anyone else, but I’ve attacked myself many times. I’ll carry the scars from the self inflicted cuts the rest of my life. It’s amazing that I’ve survived.
But I have.
And it’s not like that anymore. I still have mood swings, but they are within manageable limits. There are a few times where I get the random thoughts of self-harm or impending doom. But they are gone as soon as they come. My drinking is in check, I’ve quit smoking, and I’m even getting some exercise. I’m watching my diet, and have the emerging diabetes under control without medications. I’m surrounded with good friends that are uplifting and supportive. I’ve met someone I feel like I can develop a meaningful and lasting relationship. (Time will tell on that one). My days are no longer consumed with dealing with the emotional roller coasters, misery and fighting the out of control behaviors. I feel better than I have been in a long time…maybe ever. I’m healthy and happy. Even though it hasn’t been that long, it’s getting more and more difficult to remember just how bad it’s been.
How quickly we forget
How critical it is to remember.