Looking forward by looking back is always a good way to see about growth in your life. I spent a lot of time over the last two days reading my blog entries from a year ago when things were at their absolute bleakest. It was an interesting, hard read. It was a good read too though.
This time last year, the wheels were rapidly coming off the wagon and things were spinning out of control, to the point where I had already attempted to take my own life. Thankfully it was a failed attempt and I’m here today to continue on and share my progress.
I hadn’t heard those two words yet: Bipolar Disorder.
I hadn’t been introduced to antipsychotics yet either.
Life was shockingly different a year ago, but looking back at it today I see so many things that I could and should have done in other ways. Those things are what keep me close to my support system today.
I’ve had glasses for nearly 25 years, and it never ceases to amaze me how much clearer things are when you first put them on when you wake up in the morning.
Though being diagnosed and going through time in a treatment facility was the hardest time of my entire life, looking back on it now I can see that those dark days were like when you first wake up and everything is all blurry. Being on medicines has helped to an extent – it leveled me out, and gave me a chance to learn how to live, aware of my new reality. Being in therapy was a chance to learn how to harness all of my anger and sadness and mania and energy on how to live better. Therapy gave me the tools and the patience to be able say, “I got this,” even if I didn’t have it in the moment. It let me share these moments with my family and helped me be able to lean on them even more when the tough times have come. None of this is to say that medicine or therapy “cured” me either – I still deal with my manic tendencies on a day to day basis. I just see clearer now on how to harness them and make them help me instead of hurting me.
One of the keys to my survival has been communication – open and honest at all times – with my family, especially with my wife. She’s on the front lines of my reality and she is owed much more than she gets when it comes to her being there for me.
Another key to survival that has been made clear over the last 12 months has been the realization that this is a forever part of me now. I truly can see that I’ve suffered with it throughout my entire life up to this point, and now I know that it will be with me the rest of my life. I’ve thankfully moved into the acceptance phase of this though, and am alright with it. I no longer look at it as a blemish, or a punishment from heaven. It’s simply the burden that I’ve been dealt for this life, and one that I will continue to learn more about and how better to deal with it every day.
Hindsight really is 20/20. To have a year as tough, and hard, and full of challenges as 2017 was for me to look back on – that’s invaluable.