I had an epiphany 2 nights ago. I have been avoiding my sadness at moving. Imagine that. I have been running so fast, filling my plate with so many jobs, to keep myself from falling down with fear about what the next phase of my life will bring. I realized a while back that the first 6-8 weeks I was here, I was the old me, manic and denying all pain. Everything was NEW! NEW! NEW! and I plunged headfirst into every pool of interest I found. There was the unpacking, organizing, decorating, canning, cooking, refinishing furniture…the list could go on. I kept myself very busy, and my conscious self needed time to integrate the meaning of all of the abrupt change.
Eventually, everything got unpacked, organized, decorated, canned, refinished, and the frenetic energy dissipated. What replaced it, was deep insecurity and fear.
The arrival of my manic self was welcomed and appreciated when I needed it. As I descended into the opposite end of bipolar, I was scared and uncomfortable, just when I had started to feel relaxed. Issues of trust, and lots of delusional thinking had me acting like an insecure teenager. I felt ashamed of the way I was behaving, but I didn’t know why I was having so much fear, and I did what I always do to balance the fear. I walked, I listened to music, I distracted myself with as many healthy things as I could. In my old days, I would have distracted myself with things that were self-destructive. In my ‘new’ life, my coping strategies left my body lighter, my spirit stronger, and I didn’t feel alone.
I believe this was just another layer of truth being revealed to me. My authentic self was giving me time to make a graceful exit from one life, but was not going to let me away with not facing the fear I had just left. It was the first time I have ever ‘felt’ the full cycle, and learned to recognize the symptoms in myself.
Mania for me is wonderful. It is full of creative, exciting energy. I have 10 projects on the go, and my mind is happy to be doing something interesting every day. It’s party time in my life, and very few problems surface.
When I dip into depression, it doesn’t look like traditional depression. My body feels numb-ish, but not so much that I can’t function. I do less. I get many more paranoid or delusional thoughts. The intrusive thoughts are manageable but annoying. I don’t sleep, and this is the most physically distruptive aspect of my mental illness.
This past cycle of my bipolar has left me in some sort of a Limbo. I know you can relate to the idea of being ‘parked’. I am a wife and mother, taking care of everyones needs, and surprisingly, feeling very accomplished and content. What if the thing I have been running from (domesticity) is the very thing that has brought me peace and contentment? I can thank mental illness for showing me how many places my attention was being drained, and how useless it was to invest attention in these places.
What if unplugging your life from Facebook, TV, fake friends, parties, and being part of the ‘social engineering’ can bring an incredible amount of peace and well-being into ones life?
When I had no other way of continuing the life I was living, my new life rose up around me. I hardly noticed the journey unfolding because I was busy licking my wounds. My new life was simpler, more heartfelt, grounded and good for me.
I know that thoughts DO create things. When I was too afraid to behave in my usual patterns, a new set of healthy, helpful patterns arose. The more I began to put myself first and became unapologetic about healing my troubled mind, the easier my life became. When I became unstable and fearful, these new patterns kicked in automatically to help me navigate the rough ride. Somehow, without knowing how or why, my desire to be the person I have always wanted to be started to manifest. I had tools to handle the problems that I had always avoided. I began to sort out all of the old shit that I had been hanging on to for too long.
During my sabbatical from social media, and people that didn’t have my best interests, I lost track of what the rest of the world was doing. Life became still. In that silence, I began to listen to a different voice. One that was patient, loving and accepting. One that loved me unconditionally and kept encouraging me to always make the best choice for me, that did not intrude on the rights of others. In real life, that voice was my husband, who has always been the kindest, most loving person I have known. I FELT loved, and words and behavior aligned for the first time. I was able to invest my own attention in things that were really important to me, like my family and a few good friends.
I began to look at BEHAVIOR, not words. I realized most people lie to themselves, and because they lie to themselves, they lie to others, consciously or not. When you compare what people say, to what they do, over time, you can create a very accurate representation of who that person is, and what role they should play in your life, if any. When people show you who they are, believe them, and don’t take it personally. They are not aiming their discontent AT you, but you ARE in the line of fire, and if you choose to take it on, you may. (But I wouldn’t!!! 😉 )
I learned that people who show up in life for the good times AND the bad, are the best people to align with. People who have been able to cut through the bullshit around them to remain authentic are the kind of people who I want in my future. These are the vessels I will pour my energy and attention into. When authentic meets intention, the REAL