Strange as it may seem,I have a habit of marking the dates of all kinds of occasions, not just cheery events like weddings and birthdays. Such is the case with today being the day I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Three years, countless med changes and a hospitalization later, I’m on much firmer footing than I was when I met Dr. Awesomesauce…..but what an odyssey it’s been!
Even during the decade or so preceding the diagnosis, when I quietly suspected I had bipolar, I never dreamed what an impact the illness would have on my life. It’s influenced everything from my work to the kinds of food I eat, and it has also been instrumental in the way I look at the world.
But it’s also made me a better person in many ways. Not only have some of my less attractive traits been beaten into submission by medication, but I’ve developed more compassion for my fellow humans. My road rage is all but gone. I try to look at issues from the viewpoint of the opposite side. I don’t even look down on street people anymore, for I know what it’s like to be mentally ill and desperate for help. The only difference between us is I had more resources to draw from. That’s it.
However, I think the best thing that’s happened during my journey is this: I no longer have time for drama. My new mantra is “not my circus, not my monkeys”. I’m learning to pull away from people and things that suck the life out of me and leave me feeling drained. Even losing my job, home, and social status was a blessing in disguise, because it stripped away a lot of the bullshit involved in maintaining that lifestyle. Now that I don’t have anyone to kiss up or bow down to, I feel positively liberated.
I might not have discovered all of this had I not been brought to my knees by bipolar disorder back in 2012. Since it’s obviously never going to go away, I hope to keep on growing from it and using it to become wiser…..even if it makes me crazy sometimes. 🙂