Often times I wonder what life would be like without this illness, how supremely different my life would be had I not been so constantly followed by this disorder and the interruptions it incurs. Since there is no actual way to change the past nor does it seem likely there will be an ultimate cure in the future, I must learn how to adjust to the disorder so it won’t consume me, at times I have to dance with the devil to truly regain control of myself and such a dance is exhausting.
I’d say at present my dance with the devil is at a somewhat lingering interlude, these so called interludes in our dances oftentimes evoke depression more than any glimmer of long term stability and worse a sense of being incomplete without the false feelings of elation and security that oftentimes follows my mania in the heights of our days long dances.
How does this interlude differ from the ones before? How can I utilize this time of separation to better prepare myself for the dances that are surly yet to come?
I come to it with new eyes set on understanding the present and planning for the future rather than languishing in the fictitious glory of the past. Although, many would argue I am still in the first chapters of my life with much to look forward to and much to live for, I understand that I will always be living alongside my bipolar disorder and I project the only way to live robustly in spite of it is to know exactly how it operates within me.
I know that mental illness touches each person uniquely and in many ways you must be the master teacher of your dance to ever gain control over its intermittent appearances in your life.
Of course the right combination of medication can help greatly in subduing the ravages of a manic or depressive episode but it certainly does not cure the illness in and of itself, it only affords an opportunity of clarity where one can begin to adjust to the realities of living with a chronic mental illness. Having experienced the effects of mania even while medicated has convinced me that medication alone does not always guarantee an episode won’t manifest itself once again.
Although at the intervals during which I am more or less continually stable can last for months and years there seems to be a climbing apex during the times of stability as if every stressor I have is subconsciously banked into my psyche building overtime until they become unmanageable.
Even if the stress was processed properly during the instance it occurred it’s as if the process of processing any emotion adds fuel to the fire of my illness, as if there is a limited amount of time or experiences I have until I experience an unexpected flare up and my dance with the devil begins again.
As I progress in my understanding of the condition and how it affects me I have found it necessary to truly learn to live alongside the illness, even in instances of its presumed absence one must always be aware that the influences of the illness still persist in one way or another.
I guess the point is not to attempt to destroy the illness but rather come to know how it is a part of you without letting it dictate the steps of the dance.
It might seem easier to want to forget the existence of one’s bipolar disorder during the times in which it appears to be managed and under control, yet this is the time in which the illness must not be forgotten but rather remembered and understood through self reflection and analysis. I would dare say those living alongside bipolar disorder are touched in a way that causes us to feel the extremes of beauty and pain to an unmanageable level, the illness at some point must be embraced as an integral piece of a person’s personality before it can be mastered. One must learn to dance with the devil that is our illness if she is ever to find the possibility of the positive to emerge from the struggle.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community