My parents have told me that ever since I was little, I was a fighter. I have never given up. Although I have been in the darkest depressions and done so many things I have regretted when I was manic, I have not given up.
I can tell you that at times, it would have been easy to throw my hands up and surrender to this illness. In some ways I have.
I have accomplished a lot in my life despite my illness including graduating from college and teaching. However, I do tend to regret the things I had wanted to do before my illness struck.
I was not able to go into the career I wanted and now I am even on disability. I miss working yet know that right now, I could not possibly have a full time job.
I want to conquer this illness and go back to work. I want to live a life where I can plan things and not have to worry about being sick and having to cancel.
Bipolar disorder has gotten in the way of friendships.
I have had so many great friends over the years. Unfortunately, I would get manic and scare them or withdraw from them because I was depressed. Oftentimes, I stopped keeping in touch because I was embarrassed by the things I did when I was manic. I often wonder how many of those great friendships would have lasted if I had not been the one to let the friendship fade away because I was embarrassed.
The biggest way that my illness has gotten in the way is by treating my family and closest true friends in horrible ways when I was manic. I have been very lucky that I have had a family and some friends who have stuck by me and loved me unconditionally. They understand that the things I said when I was manic were because I was sick. Their forgiveness is not really deserving, but I am so grateful they have stood by me throughout the years.
I like to say that even though I have a mental illness, I am just like everyone else and I can do anything I set my mind to do. However, in reality, I am not sure how true that is. I won’t ever be able to work as an interpreter for the United Nations like I always wanted to do. I am not sure if I ever will learn how to make friends that I can keep. One thing I do hope is that I can stop hurting the ones I love. I wish I could take all the hurtful things I have done over the years, but I can’t.
My illness has gotten in the way of who I want to be. If I try and look on the positive side, I can think that eventually I won’t have such huge mood swings and will find the right treatment to keep my symptoms at bay. I hope that day comes. Until it does or even if it never does, I won’t give up. I will keep fighting. However, it does seem to get harder to fight the fight after each episode. I try and forget the bad things as they would wear me down. I move on as that is the only thing I can do. Dwelling on the horrible things will make things worse.
I usually am not so negative about my illness, but wanted to share a reality that I have left out in other posts. Better days are ahead and I hold onto that. I may not do the things I once wanted to do and won’t be able to get back those friends or take back the awful things I have said and done, but I can find things I can do where my illness won’t get in the way.