Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Bad Days in Recovery


invisibility-cloakA couple of days ago, To Write Love on Her Arms published a blog post that resonated with me.  Bad days.  While in recovery.  They happen.

I look back fourteen months ago and the severity of the depressive episode I was trapped in.  Currently, I am “doing better.” I am more active, I have a healthy lifestyle, I am writing again-and even sent out work for the first time in 18? months, I am trying to socialize more, and I’m even looking at job openings again.  I smile more and laugh more and, most of the time, find being alive a blessing.

Most of the time. Here’s the thing I wish I could get people to understand: For a significant majority of people, Bipolar Disorder isn’t something you catch one day, take medications to kill off the disease, and then are cured and then it is gone forever. Like my heart disease:  it is there for good.  I will have good spans, sometimes lengthy good spans, but that doesn’t mean I get to take my defibrillator out and wait for another bad spell to put it back in.  This is something I own now.  It’s a part of me.  But only a part.

Regarding the Bipolar Disorder, even now, while I am “doing better,” it is still there, kind of like my medic alert bracelet that adds an ounce of weight to my right arm that my left arm doesn’t feel.  I often wake up in the morning and my initial reaction is that life sucks and there’s no point in opening my eyes.  But I do.  Open my eyes, and get out of bed, and begin my day.  Throughout the day, a little voice may whisper in my head, “What is the freaking point of all this?” but I ignore it and move on.  I’ll go to bed, and I might wish not to wake up in the morning, but then I convince myself that’s not what I really want and think of things I’m glad I’m still able to enjoy.  And then I close my eyes and wake up the next morning.

But sometimes, my days are a little different.  There are days when getting out of bed feels like fighting off an invisible force crushing me into my mattress.  There are days when I don’t want to talk to anyone, let alone smile or laugh.  There are days when reading a book takes too much energy.  There are days when I wish I had a legit invisibility cloak.  Then I would curl up on my bed, throw the cloak over me, and no one would be able to find me and tell me I should get up and do something.

There are days I give in to this desire.  Then I listen to the, “But I thought you were better?” questions.

YES I AM BETTER BUT I STILL HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER AND THERE ARE DAYS WHEN LIFE STILL SUCKS!

This is what I wish I could scream at people.  But I generally don’t have the energy to do so when I want to.  Sometimes, I really wish I had some easily visible illness.  Then, when I needed a day to myself to sleep, people would see the illness and understand that it must be rough dealing with a chronic medical condition and that I must get frustrated with it all and that these days are to be expected from time to time.  I realize I don’t have a full-time job, so no need to remind me.  And no, having a full-time job would not make everything A-okay.  It might very well make things worse.  I would like to be back in a full-time position, but I realize that it will take time, that my body needs to heal, and that there might be some setbacks along the way.

One day, or a half of a day, or an extra long nap of curling up and not moving is to be expected with me.  The last thing I need are lectures about how getting fresh air will make everything better.  If it were that simple, I’d live in a tent.  When these days start stringing together, I still don’t need lectures.  I need someone to prod me and ask, “Hey, have you talked to your doctors lately to let them know what’s going on?  Why don’t you give them a call.  They can help you.”

I am choosing to live.  Every day.  Some days, that choice is a little more difficult to make.  But I am still making that choice.

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July 4, 2015 - Posted by | bipolar disorder, depression, health, recovery | , , , , , , ,

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