It’s a new day.
It’s a new beginning.
It’s a new focus.
You never truly ‘beat’ bipolar disorder, but I think I can safely say I have mine under control now. It’s been 5 years since I’ve had any kind of major manic episode, and the few depressive events have been manageable, and situational. When times get bad, when people die, and when stress gets overwhelming anyone is susceptible to depression. And by and large, that’s where I am. I did have a bit of a problem a couple of years ago when my job got completely out of control. I deal with the upper echelon of large businesses, helping to resolve crisis situations, supporting sales efforts and managing large scale issues. Summer before last we were inundated with massive crisis across the board of our enterprise customer base. Working 16+ hour days was just enough to fall further behind. And due to the magnitude of the problems, it was basically being yelled out the entire time. Customers were pissed that they were having problems, Sales people were frantic to protect their commissions, engineering and other resources I had to pull in were unhappy I was giving them more work, and of course my management expected results in spite of the volumes. And that’s when the panic attacks started. I didn’t recognize what was happening, and was convinced that I was having a heart attack. Day after day the chest pains got worse and worse. Then the pain migrated down my left arm. My blood pressure went through the roof (180 / 145) and I was short of breath. Finally I went to the company nurse, who sent me to an urgent care, who called an ambulance to take me to the emergency room. They were also convinced it was my heart. I spent the next 3 days in Cardiac Care, undergoing every test imaginable to identify what was wrong. Guess what? It wasn’t my heart after all! It was panic attacks, pure and simple. My Dr. prescribed time off from work, and I spent the next three months at home. So yes, it was a major event. But it had nothing to do with being bipolar. Now work is as bad as ever, but I’ve learned new skills to deal with it, and limit my time at work to 10 hours a day, no matter how far behind I get. It is mainly a matter of perception. With everything that’s going on with my family, in this country, all over the world, a pissed off customer is the least of our problems.
It’s a cliché, but life is too short to waste that energy on the negative.
I also have been in a (more or less) stable relationship for the last 5 years. We’re not getting married (ever!) but we live together, are buying a house, and more or less living like an old married couple (without the complications of marriage). I’m not too thrilled with the ‘old’ part, but at my age, I guess that’s to be expected. (But I’m not giving up quite yet!)
And I got a boat! It has always been a lifelong dream to get out on the water, so when I finally got the opportunity, I went for it. I’m now the proud owner of a 17.5’ Center Console. And it’s everything I’d always imagined it would be. For me, there’s nothing more relaxing or peaceful than cruising out on the open water. It’s truly my happy place.
So, life really is good!
I started this blog as an outlet to learn how to deal with my illness, and hopefully by sharing my experiences I’d be able to help others along the way. And during that time, I think I did both. But what do you write about, when being bipolar isn’t the central focus of life? I still monitor for signs of a relapse, but I can go months without ever even thinking about my illness. I’ll never be cured, it doesn’t go away, and everything can come crashing down tomorrow. But now, I’m too busy living a normal life to remember just how bad it can be.
So where does that leave this?
I miss writing every day, and if I’m honest with myself, there’s a lot of enjoyment and validation with being followed, and the comments received. Maybe that’s a little self-centered, but who doesn’t like being noticed and appreciated.
So I’m going to try and get back into the habit. Since Bipolar Disorder is no longer the driving force for me, there may not be as much focus on the disease, but hopefully I can keep things relevant and meaningful.
So, here I go. Wish me luck! And with a little bit of optimism, I’ll be back tomorrow.