Goals

Part of my recovery from a depression has always been setting some goals for the future. This usually helps me be more forward thinking and not feel so trapped in the mire. In the past I have set goals like: have a family (check), get into medical school (check), finish medical school (nope), run a 5k (check)… This time I have decided to commit to something I have always dreamed of but never thought possible. I want to dance ballet.

I took dance lessons all through my childhood and absolutely loved them. But I never took ballet because the teacher convinced me I did not have the body for it and training would be a waste of my time. I have pined over ballet since. I watch all the movies, I go to recitals, I do barre work at home when I’m alone, but I’ve always shied away from classes. I believed I couldn’t.

Now I say: ‘fuck that’. I won’t know if I don’t try right? I’m pretty heavy so I likely will never get up onto pointe, but nothing says I can’t dance my little heart out right?

With some research it seems like I need to strengthen and stabilize everything, especially my feet, before I start to dance or I will hurt myself. So (starting yesterday) every morning I have been doing the exercises I found. Yesterday all afternoon I felt tight and sore but it was like a glow in my muscles, a secret there.

Knowing I’m working toward something is helping.

Also having my mom here and taking my meds.

It always amazes me when I start to come out of the darkness. It always feels like everything is shiny and new. Like the world has colour again. I’m not totally out of the woods, but things are definitely turning around. When I picked up my son this morning I felt those warm fuzzies again. He is my sweet baby boy again. Plus, he smiled at me this morning. If that doesn’t make a heart melt, I don’t know what will.

Stability

I received a lovely letter today from a friend. It reminded me of why I started this blog over a year ago. My life is rapidly evolving and I have lost sight of what my original motivation was for this blog.

I started this to connect to people. To help people feel less alone. Hopefully to make people feel empowered and ready to tackle their illness head-on. Basically, I wrote the blog that I had been searching for for years.

Now I am living in the land of stability and all that long-ago strife is conveniently forgotten.

Sometimes I forget all the effort, time, and pain that went into reaching this place. Bipolar is just some distant evil that can no longer reach me. But then I can’t sleep one night and the fear come rushing back. Is this the break? Am I on a cycle now? Are these feelings going to pass? I am uncontrolled, emotions right at the surface. Old fears and paranoia rush back in. I am terrified that I have wakened the beast. But so far these days have been one-off. Developing into nothing. It’s a new way of living that I haven’t quite adjusted to.

I want to say that anyone can reach this place- but I have only lived my life and cannot judge others. I hope that all those out there still struggling to find who they are in this new life landscape have everything work out soon. I know how exhausting it can be to fight a battle every goddamn day. A bit of balance goes a long way to recharging the batteries to fight the next fight.

I can tell you that even when things are going well you won’t be the same person you were before. When you have danced with madness and flirted with suicide you cannot go back to the time before. You have learned and experienced things that will change you forever. You wouldn’t want to go back anyway. That person was not well, was not coping. But the new you is. And you need to listen to them. They know what they’re talking about.

‘Well me’ knows that going back and dredging up all those old experiences is not healthy. I need to build my new life. I have dealt with some of the trauma that arose from slipping off into the ether but at this point a lot of it is too much to handle. I have the scaffolding up and have started laying the first bricks but it’s a delicate thing and I have to protect it still. Maybe one day I can un-load everything and live free but for now I have to focus on the forward momentum I have achieved.

So, thank you for reading, it brings me so much joy to hear from you all. I will keep posting as much as I can but if I am silent it is because things are working and I want to live in that bliss.

Keep fighting.

Recovery is not Linear

I have heard the quote “recovery is not linear” probably a million times. I’ve always kind of accepted it as truth but never really paid attention to it. But, my experiences over the last few weeks have really shown me the truth in that simple statement.

I have had some huge successes, like going to the movies or to the pub. But I’ve also had some days where I can’t even walk the dog and need PRNs. How do all these days group together? They are opposites, swinging wildly from success to failure.

It seems as though for every leap forward; I take a few steps back for a day or two. It’s as if I’ve expended so much of my reserve to do the ‘big thing’, the next day even the little things are hard. I’ve learned this and don’t schedule ‘big things’ too close together to allow for recovery time.

While this predictability is frustrating, at least I am moving in the general direction of FORWARD. I am doing things now that I never could have months ago. I take myself to appointments- I even drive downtown for them! I can painlessly pick up a few groceries or grab a bigger order outside. These little advances seem to be pretty consistent. For some reason it’s the social stuff that really exhausts me.

If I’m just with hubby I can string a few activities together, including restaurants. But if I’m with friends even getting together at home can wear me out. I love my friends! And I feel like I can be myself around them. I think it’s just the intensity. Talking consistently for an hour or two is a lot. Binge watching Gilmore Girls and talking in between is not- and there for I can hang out for 5 hours painlessly.

This effect was never more obvious then a week ago. An old high school friend and her partner spent one night on their epic Northern road trip with us. We had dinner and dessert. So consistent chatter for about 4 hours. I knew after about 2 hours that things were going to get hard. We moved to the living room and I began knitting so that I could pull back a bit and let my husband lead the conversation. Even with this the next day was a complete write off. Melty walls and everything.

But you know what? I wouldn’t change it. That night was so fun I don’t give a crap I had a “social hangover”. And I think that’s the most important lesson I’ve learned from all this garbage. Go try it. Maybe you fail- but maybe you don’t. Maybe you have a great experience. But if you stay home, scared to try, you will miss so much. So even if you spend a few days after watching tv and popping antipsychotics, I think its worth it.

And, remind yourself today’s ‘big thing’ will be only a little thing in a few months if you keep pushing. If you keep fighting the dips your recovery will most certainly move upward overall- just definitely not linearly.

Return from the Depths

Photo by Caio Resende on Pexels.com

My brain absolutely astounds me. I can be so down one day I can’t leave the couch, and then the next perfectly functional. It is bizarre. If I could figure out how to manually flip this switch I would probably win the Nobel Prize or something.

Since resurfacing into the land of the living I have been making up for lost time. Running the errands that had been put off, doing the chores that needed to get done. Things are going well.

I’m also pretty stoked to have finally crested the 70,000 word mark on my novel. That’s a lot of words people. Many, many hours have gone into this and I’m starting to get a little bit terrified its been a colossal waste of time. Will anyone actually read this thing? Will they like it??

I just keep telling myself I’m writing it because it’s a story I need to tell. If I only tell myself so be it.