The next step

I miss writing.

It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything or posted any blogs.  I have used my writings over the years to both document my trials dealing with Bipolar Mood Disorder and as a part of my therapy as I convert thoughts and feelings into words.  I’ve been through the depths of hell, and flown higher than the moon as I’ve cycled through this illness, leaving a trail of destruction and misery in my wake.   And through it all I’ve recorded it by the written word.

And I’ve gotten better.  I’ve gotten so much better.

So how many ways can you say ‘things are going great’?   That’s not much of a bipolar chronicle, is it?  But that’s how it is; things really are going great.

It hasn’t been an overnight transition or miraculous healing.   It’s taken a ton of work, therapy and medications to get to this point.  And I can’t say with all certainty that I’ve completely overcome this illness.  I could relapse again tomorrow.  But it’s been almost three years since a major episode, and more than that, I’ve developed more and more appropriateness to all situations.  I get angry, but controlled and focused on the source in a non-destructive and reasonable level.   Sadness is a part of life, and I have my share. And I’ve learned to accept it as just that; sadness.  Being sad isn’t depression, and should be felt and worked through for what it is.  I can get excited without being over the top.  It’s taken some time to adjust to what can be perceived as boredom, but I’m getting used to it, and have found ways to keep from getting stagnant or stuck in a routine.  I’m dancing again, and even through I’m seriously taking lessons, I have no desire to push to the competitive level.  I’m learning a new style just for the joy of the dance.

I’ve got a healthy relationship.  We’ve been together now for a little over a year and a half.  Not a record by any means, but what is different this time is the lack of influence of my disease.  We have an honest connection and share things that couples should share.  We’ve been through some tough times from outside influences, and handled them together in a positive and supportive way.   We’ve enjoyed quiet time together just chilling out and we’ve gone out to have fun. And we do have fun.  Yes, I’ve been in relationships in the past that have started with that, but the difference this time is I’m not manic.  For so many years I was either hypo-manic or depressed, and I believe that the start of previous relationships was during that hypo-manic stage.  And I also believe that this one isn’t like that.  This feels really healthy.

And neither of us feels the need to get married.  I’ve had enough of that and I’ve learned that leagally defining a relationship has nothing to do with happiness.  And neither does she.

I’ve reconciled with my children.   No, it’s not 100% and there are still a lot of things to work out and reestablish.   But the connection is there, and I’m very hopeful that we can recover our past closeness.

And they are both giving me grandchildren in the fall.  How much better does that get!  I couldn’t be more excited for both of them, and myself.     They are going to be parents, and I’m going to be a grandfather!   The great circle of life.

Did I mention I was so excited?   Wow.

I’ve settled into a new career.  And it’s great!  I am not a manager, I’m not bringing in the six figure salaries, I’m not traveling the world, and I’m not carrying the responsibility of success or failure.  And I’m totally okay with that.  My job isn’t particularly difficult, and there’s a lot of repetition.   It’s dealing with other businesses though, and I’ve really enjoyed connecting with other professionals and helping them resolve their issues.  And I do it well, but not with an obsession.  And best of all, at the end of the day I pack up my computer and go home; leaving the job behind until the next day.  When you are at the senior management level you never really turn it off.   Now, I can turn it off and focus on what is really important in life.  I’m still in somewhat of a leadership role, but more as a mentor and guide.  There’s nothing official and I’m not responsible for success or failure.   I’m just able to share my experience and provide support to my other coworkers.   And I learn from them too; we all have things to share.

Things just couldn’t be any better.

So am I cured?  Can I relax and enjoy my new found normalcy?  Have I finally beaten this beast?  Absolutely not!  I’m going to have to remain vigilant the rest of my life to maintain my sanity.  I’ve totally accepted the fact that I won’t ever be able to stop my medications.  I have to stay in tune constantly to the signs of changes in my mood, and react appropriately before things can get out of control.  Listening to my mind and body has to be a conscious act every single day.  And I still see my therapist once a week.  She helps keep me focused, and there are always new things to learn and ways to improve myself as a person.  We’ve developed together and I really owe her a lot for sticking by me and never losing faith.

The biggest thing I can offer now is hope.

My disease has been through some devastating extremes throughout my life.  I’ve lost so many opportunities, I’ve caused much self harm and I’ve destroyed others lives.  Of course diseases really can’t be compared, but for me, it’s been a very dramatic and destructive illness.  It’s been a long hard road to get here, the most of which was completely uncontrolled and in denial.  It’s only been within the last 5 years or so that I have really embraced my illness for what it is and begun to really work on the root cause instead of just attacking the symptoms.  And I’ve been able to turn my life completely around and have the real chance of continuing to succeed.

If I can do it, anybody can.

Honestly, there’s nothing special about me.  I have my strengths and weaknesses with good traits and bad.  I’m reasonably intelligent, but there are a whole lot of people who are a lot smarter.  Insight into myself and others is one of my strengths, but there’s nothing unique about that either.  All in all, I’m really just an average guy.  Or one of my favorite quotes…  I’m unique; just like everybody else.

No matter how bad things are, or how hopeless the situation is, it can be overcome.  Not everyone can or will, but that doesn’t make them weak or failures.  Every life and circumstances are different and sometimes the illness is just too great.  But having the illness isn’t a life sentence with no hope for parole.  Of course there is no cure, but that doesn’t mean it has to rule a life.  I’m living proof.  This beast can be contained.

So is this the end of the blog?  I certainly hope not, and don’t intend it to be.  I still have things to say and need the therapeutic outlet.  My daily life isn’t the total focus on the disease as it has been however, and the daily posts I have done in the past is more than I care to maintain.  I’ve got things to do, places to go and people to love.  (Did I mention I’m going to be a grandfather?)    My focus is on living my life.  But this isn’t goodbye or the end of my story.  I will always need to write, and always want to share.

One of my goals when I began my story here was the hope that sharing my story could somehow help others.  Even though I don’t have the daily trials and tribulations my journey is still here.  I have to believe that I’ve influenced others in at least some small way.

And who knows… maybe there’s a book in all of this.  I’ll have to think about that.

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2 Responses to The next step

  1. Thanks for this update! You are doing awesome! Congratulations on the new grand babies!

    Like

  2. amy says:

    It really resonated when you said “protect my sanity” because it is something we have to guard

    Like

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