Actually, it looks an awful lot like……..me. At least for the time being.
It seems a bit odd to be discussing bipolar disorder when I’ve never felt less bipolar in my life. But I think I love this newfound serenity even more than I do my hypomanias. This is what it must be like to live without a mental illness. I’m not bouncing off the walls, I’m not sweating bullets, I’m not itching to claw anyone’s eyeballs out, and I’m not the least bit depressed.
I’m feeling—dare I say it?—downright normal.
It’s not that I don’t have a lot of stress in my life. I have a close relative whose health has been in free-fall for over a year, and then wound up in a nursing home after breaking her hip in a catastrophic fall. Suddenly, I’m thrust back into a caregiving role without the title (OR the pay), and while I don’t mind helping her face the transition from independence to assisted living, I am greatly disappointed in this relative due to her mean-spirited and incessant sniping, almost all of which is directed at me.
I understand that she’s upset and angry. I understand that she’s scared of leaving her comfort zone and going to live in a place where they’re going to insist that she get out of that damn bed of hers and take a shower once in a while. But it’s not my fault that she chose to overdo it on the narcotics—AGAIN—lost her balance, and fell….or that she’s no longer safe to manage her life alone, at home or anywhere else. I wasn’t the one who did it, and I don’t have to own it. What a concept!
And I’m handling it. It pisses me off, but I’m dealing with it competently and with a degree of equanimity that I wouldn’t have thought possible even a few weeks ago. At long last, my meds are working in perfect harmony and all’s right with the world, even though what’s going on in MY world really sucks right now.
It doesn’t hurt that the weather has been bright, warm, and sunny for the past week; that’s when I’m at my best no matter what the surrounding circumstances may be. But there’s a maturity in the way I see this situation that wasn’t there before, and I’m almost afraid to trust it for I know how my illness works, and I’m already waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. In fact, it’s such a foreign concept that I can’t help thinking that it’s all a dream, and that I’ll wake up in the morning in my default mode….which is to say, a bipolar hot mess.
But for today—and maybe even tomorrow—I’ll take pride in knowing that I’m taking care of business like a real, live normal person. And for now, that is enough.