Reality Check

If ever I needed some healing energies—and I certainly do—I got them today.

I didn’t realize until last night’s blog entry drew a bucketful of concerned responses that things really were as bad as they felt. Laced with profanities and full of anger, it was the kind of post that tends to alarm my readers, and with good reason: I am not myself when I’m in a mixed state, and that is exactly what this is. It’s far from the worst one I’ve ever experienced, but it’s still a dangerous mood and it doesn’t help that I’ve been so upset with myself for getting sick again.

Enter Dr. Awesomesauce. After two years in his care, I continue to be amazed at how good he really is at his job, and how lucky I was to get him when I needed a mental health professional. He is perhaps the only person alive who can plant a boot in my backside without putting me on the defensive (and he uses that to shameless advantage), and today, I got a reality check when I told him how disappointed I was with myself. “Why can’t I go more than a couple of months without having this thing bite me in the ass?” I lamented.

“My dear, sweet M___” (he uses terms of endearment as a buffer whenever he has to say something he knows I won’t like) “you unfortunately have an illness that is going to keep coming back, over and over again, even if you’re taking your meds and sleeping and taking care of yourself the way you’re supposed to. You can do absolutely everything right but you are still going to get sick. It’s inevitable. Accept it. And PLEASE stop beating yourself up about something that’s not your fault.”

This is not the first time he has had to say this, or something like it. Being angry with myself is my default position, and it happens every single time I have a mood episode. I keep thinking that if I would just do things a little better, I could avoid the next one. It’s almost like having an abusive relationship with myself: if only I’d gone to bed earlier instead of watching the Olympics…..if only I weren’t so reluctant to take my PRNs when I need them…..if only I were a better person…..maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with this so much.

There was so much more to the session that it would take several pages to tell it all, including a hilarious story about trying to use his tractor as a snowplow to clear the driveway then getting stuck two-thirds of the way through the job with a blown tire and blocking the entire driveway in the bargain. There were also some comedic bits about kangaroos, Purgatory, my epic clumsiness, and how crocodile meat tastes just like chicken (now there’s a conversation that deserves its own post), but I digress.

The bottom line is I am loved and I have GOT to stop seeing myself as “weak” for having a condition that I know (at least on an intellectual level) has nothing to do with my character. Actually, that’s been the take-home message for the past several appointments; I just need to internalize it and take ownership of it. And that’s hard for someone who was brought up in a family where no one (supposedly) had mental illness or a drinking or drug problem. I’m the only one who’s ever been formally diagnosed, and believe me, it gets lonely sometimes.

But then there are days like today, when I’m reminded that there is warmth and light and love, and that I have the most awesome support system ever assembled in the history of the world. I am blessed indeed.


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.

3 thoughts on “Reality Check

  1. And of course, actually trying to LIVE makes it worse, but what’s the other option — hiding in a cave, cowering? Screw that. I am glad to hear you are blessed with at least one person in your life who can be that boot when you need it. It’s something that certainly helps keep things in perspective. ❤


  2. Thank you both. I really am blessed! I only wish EVERY psych patient had a doctor like Dr. A. I even told him as much yesterday, which pleased him tremendously….I know being a healthcare professional is often a thankless job, and a lot of times we just catch crap all day. So I appreciate what he does….I just don’t think I say it enough.


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