Sorry it’s taken me so long to write my New Year’s post, but I’ve been busy taking care of my sick hubby (?bronchitis/pneumonia?), watching football (the Chargers lost their 12th and last game of the season, dammit) and, well…not being in a reflective mood. I’m not sure why, since the advent of a new year always makes me want to assess the one just past. But one thing I can say for sure: 2015 was one HELL of a lot better than the previous three years.
I mean, it was a huge improvement. In 2015 I escaped homelessness, got Social Security, and went on my dream vacation. I also was relatively stable for the vast majority of the year and managed to do some good work on myself, even if I did lose my favorite doctor and have to start over with a new therapist. I spent an hour on New Year’s Eve with a very nice young lady who seems to know her stuff and I can already tell she’s going to pick up where Dr. Awesomesauce left off.
To be fair, I warned her that I adore the man and that no one can ever take his place; however, I got the feeling from our first meeting that she’ll do just fine. I have yet to be assigned to a psychiatrist or mental health nurse practitioner; that happens after three visits with “Kathy”. I guess the powers that be want to be sure I’ll follow up properly and continue with treatment. They won’t have a problem with me there—I KNOW I need therapy and meds. Heaven knows where I’d be without them.
Which is why, if you asked me to name the single most important thing I learned in 2015, the answer would be this: if I don’t have my mental health, I’ve got nothing. I don’t have the luxury of defining my illness as a mere existential crisis, or ignoring the need for vigilance. Nor do I have any business trying to fix what isn’t broken…there’s a REASON I’m on so many medications. I am no longer under any illusions about being “cured” of bipolar disorder. I may not always need this much help in managing it, but that day has not yet come and I’m not going to waste any more time stewing about it.
I’m not sure when I came to that conclusion. I don’t recall having an epiphany of any sort. But sometime during the past year, I finally accepted my lot in life. I’m doing reasonably well (except Dr. A still won’t say I’m in remission) but things can—and almost certainly will at some point—go sideways. It’s the nature of the beast. On the other hand, there’s no need to live in fear of the next episode; why ruin a perfectly good streak of stability wondering when the feces is going to collide with the rotary ventilation system?
Just a few thoughts on how my 2015 went and my single New Year’s resolution to keep all of the above in mind. I don’t make any in most years because I always seem to set myself up for failure (“lose 100 pounds”, “start an exercise program”, “volunteer more often at church” etc.) and then wind up feeling guilty when the inevitable happens and I lose my momentum, causing me to give my resolution less than my best…or to give up completely.
Can’t let that happen in 2016. Happy New Year!