Living with bipolar disorder, or any illness for that matter, is all consuming and eats you up when you’re ill. It’s your whole world. Everything is jolly when you’re stable but when you’re not, people surround you and bless you with their love and support if you’re lucky (at least their version of love and support). If you’re not so fortunate, you get cast aside as that weirdo who dove into the deep end and became “crazy”. Which is really better though?
I’m grateful for all the love and support I’ve received one thousand times over and over again. However, there are moments where I want my illness to take a step back and not takeover conversations when people ask “How are you?”.
I could respond with “Everything’s great!” but I would be lying. What’s the point in that? So naturally every conversation begins with my illness and how it’s eating up my whole world and myself. It begins with my stories of how my medications are messing up my sex life and the weight I’ve gained on my small frame. It begins with my stories of how my job options are limited because of my tremors. It begins with stories of my latest and greatest worries.
How about beginning stories with gratitude? That’s the conversation worth having instead.
If my friend asks, “How are you?” I could respond with, “Everything is still complicated and mildly upsetting but I’m glad that my husband has found full time work to support us.” for example.
Finding the silver lining or telling yourself that everything is meant to be isn’t easy, but it’s the things that aren’t easy that are worth it sometimes, and in this case, it most definitely is! Worrying about your issues that the universe has given you is wasted energy that you could spend improving your situation instead. Envying others and their lives isn’t worth it because you’ll lose sight of how much you’re worth it, and how your life is worth it.
Maybe you think I’m preaching bullshit but it’s getting me through the hard times right now, and trust me, my patience is being tested left, right, and centre.
It’s time for you to choose now. Will you let your illness factor takeover every conversation with all of its complications and complexities or will you greet these conversations with your truth and gratitude? I’m not telling you to lie about your situation – I’m encouraging you to find love and greatness in every nook and crevice. The light is there; it’s at the end of the tunnel. It’s the same light you and I keep chasing for recovery so that we can be calm and “recovered” again. I know it’s trying but you can do it.
I believe in you.