Ac-cen-tuate The Positive

OK, so today I don’t feel quite as much like crawling into a hole and pulling the dirt up over my head. I’ve only been back on Celexa for two doses, and there is no way that’s done anything for me yet; but the fact that something is being done helps psychologically if nothing else. It’s like when you’ve got bronchitis and you finally decide to go to the doctor, then you start feeling better in anticipation; I’m reasonably sure I WILL feel better, and probably sooner rather than later because I wasn’t off the stuff all that long.

That’s not to say I feel particularly good, but I’ve accomplished a decent amount of pre-holiday cleaning/organizing and I’m proud of myself for that. I cleaned up the dining room, washed the table with Murphy’s Oil Soap, then polished it to a shine. I’ve also cleaned one of the bathrooms and done two sinks full of dishes……not bad for someone fighting depression. The physical activity is good for me, and the act of making my home presentable gives me at least SOME feeling of accomplishment, which is something I need desperately right now.

I also had a couple of interesting thoughts last night as I was trying to go to sleep, and I’m going to explore them a little bit here to see if by writing them down, I can figure out how to work through some of my problems. It occurred to me that establishing some facts would be helpful to start:

1) I have a terrible habit of getting down on myself, for any reason or no reason;

2) I am indeed in the middle of an existential crisis;

3) I have a confidence problem;

4) I’m not sure where I belong in the world anymore; and

5) I have bipolar disorder.

Now, which came first, the proverbial chicken or the proverbial egg? I know why I have a confidence problem, and I’m reasonably certain of where my self-esteem issues came from. That leaves the other three issues which seem unrelated, but I’m beginning to believe they might be linked after all.

First of all, not knowing where I’m supposed to be at this point in life IS an existential crisis, although there is much more to it than that. I’m questioning EVERYTHING: Who I am becoming in this autumn of my life. How to deal with the fact that my longtime career is basically over, and what to do to stay afloat till I can figure out my next act. When and where to move since our finances have taken such a hit that we can no longer afford the house we’ve lived in for over a decade. Whether I should even try for full-time employment because I’m so afraid of not being there for Will if/when he needs me, because I’ve been so ill in my own way…….and yes, because I’m terrified of peoples’ expectations.

It REALLY gets complicated when you throw in manic depression, which I still tend to regard as some sort of beast that attacks me on a whim rather than something that’s part of me. It’s healthy that I don’t let it define me, but it makes an already shaky existence even more so. I want to know if I’m going through all this stress and agony because I’m sick. Or if I got sick because of all the stressful events that led up to the crisis. And what exactly was it that turned a subthreshold state of bipolarity into a roaring full-blown illness that has wrecked my career and changed absolutely everything about the way I live and work and relate to others?

However…….the fact that I’ve got enough brain-power to even think about these things on a deeper level now is cause for optimism. I’ve heard of people afflicted by my disorder who are able to anticipate and ward off trouble almost all of the time, leaving them free to pursue lives of purpose; could it be that solving these mysteries might lead to a similar outcome for me one day?

It’s not very bright and it doesn’t generate much heat, but there is a tiny pilot light of hope that still burns way down deep inside of me. I think I just felt the flame jump a little.


Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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