I’m absolutely thrilled how ilovebipolar.com is going. It was great to delve into 10 upsides of bipolar and to get my summary published in the website A Lust for Life. It was great too to have done a Dublin City FM Interview where I spoke on how I have learned to love this condition. It dawned on me recently, with the help of a feedback group that now is a time for change, a time to explore another side of bipolar – the downsides. I hesitate a bit with this change as it takes some courage to delve into the other side. However, I am consoled knowing that readers may benefit – and most importantly to explore how I got through or indeed how I am getting through the downsides. As one friend put it, it would be great to include steps, hopes, and inspirations too. And as my twin says, it would be great to give some balance to the upsides.
A lowness, a sadness, a lack of life has crept in and I have to remind myself that this is not my fault. A depressive episode of bipolar can last a week and even though this is familiar territory to me, each time feels fresh and raw and painful. I cry out in depths of despair to dig a bit deeper, to hang on a bit longer and to just feel an ounce of divine presence. I am helped through the practical support of my family and the blessings of my faith community. I remember the words: “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”
Going through the paces
I go through the paces while I try to care for myself. I meditate and sense a face turning to me with love. I eat, watch a movie, and push myself to say a few words. This must be difficult for my family too. I ponder that despite this depressive episode, I am still OK because I am more or less in tune with my emotions and I have faith. Acceptance is such an easy word: there are days when I battle with my lowness, when I try to distract myself with quick fixes. Eventually I return to accept the reality of my situation, the reality of navigating my inner world with strong currents, howling winds and gnashing waves. I accept bipolar disorder.
A glimmer of hope
I feel a glimmer of hope: ‘You seem to be getting a bit better,’ says a loved one with a hug and kiss. Later, I communicate over tea and I begin to ask questions again. I’m a little irritable but I don’t intend to bother anyone. At last, I feel an inner joy returning like the rising sun and my world becomes more external again. I let go of what I missed this week and I resolve to live in the now. The words from the book of Zephaniah speak to me: “He will dance with shouts of joy for you, as on a day of festival.” I believe that the beloved will break it down on the dance floor when he sees me recover.
Soldiers of the internal world
The late Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series lived with bipolar and offered the following: “In my opinion, living with bipolar disorder takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of duty in Afghanistan…They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”