I write a lot about the day-to-day tribulations and triumphs of my life. By creating such an incremental narrative, I shield you from the big picture. This is not my intent, but rather, a byproduct of the format. For this post, I’d like to temporarily change that.
I have bipolar II disorder, and I am affected 85% by depression (which is not like regular depression) and 15% mania. I have had manic episodes, but they are few and far between. It’s the viciousness of the depression that presents the most problems. I have learned through years of trying to treat it, that if you do not respect how dangerous it is, it will own you. I have led my life connecting good sensations across deep chasms of self hatred, and when those connections dried up, I fell. I have done that more than once, and I do believe I have evolved beyond making that mistake over again. Bipolar depression is a crocodile that has latched itself on and will drag you under, drown you, and feast on your carcass. I have treated this dangerous foe with no regard and been crushed under it, and it has become a moral imperative not to let that happen again. I face the challenge of coping with this deadly predator in me, every day.
But I digress. What am I doing with my life? I feel, honestly, that I have squandered much of it. But I have been given many chances to come back and do better. In this most recent permutation of my independence, I am integrating the lessons I learned through many experiences of failure so that I may change. I have a deep DEEP well of shame for what I have perpetrated, and in the past, I have tried to throw myself down it. But a well is also a place where you can drink fresh water, and so too must my regret become something useful. Why am I doing this? Because I’ve lived so foolishly, so obliviously, that I now look at myself as a 31 year old man and wonder what the fuck have I been doing all this time? Resolving something of essential value from that question is pivotal. Who am I? A man burdened by his past, and resolved to change who he is to become. I have lived vicariously, and without respect for the enemy within. But things are different now.
I have awoken to find myself at the bottom of a mighty slope. In my past, I may have balked, or tried sprinting up to arrive at the top faster, but none of these methods resulted in success. Depression hates progress. It feeds on haste and poorly thought out decisions, and turns them inward. I have discovered that if I take my life and compartmentalize it down to minor successes and achievements, a slow and steady ascent begins. A climb that depression has a very hard time disputing. Each step is a fact; proof that I accomplished something good, and made myself proud. Then I do that 400,000 times in a row.
Why though? Because I want to look at the person I am and not hate him. I don’t want to be stuck forever in my mistakes. I deserve a life filled with good things, things built on a solid foundation of priorities. I know now to never put anything above my mental health. Ever. If I have any hope of falling in love, or rising up in my workplace, I must surely be healthy of mind. Depression can’t argue with days upon days of positive achievements. What is it going to tell you? That you suck? That you’re no good? Why would you listen to that, when all you have to do is point to the things you have done to make your life better? You can say to depression: you have no power here, because I have proved, over and over again, that I am worth more than you’d like me to believe.
I try hard to live a life that breaks the pattern of failure. I want something more for myself; to contribute to this world with the slightly deranged perspective I have to offer. I have so much love, passion, eccentricity, and curiosity in me that is waiting to be tapped. I know I have made many mistakes, but I will not let that hold down who I can be. I don’t want to prove anything to anyone but myself. I lead the life I live because it makes me feel good about who I am. I know I’m still bipolar, and things are more volatile for me than most, but I will not be flattened by sadness if I have a choice. Small steps up the slope will eventually get you to a place with one hell of a view.
Goodnight blog. I’m working hard, and it is paying off. I feel better about myself than I have in many years. And I intend to keep climbing. May you find peace in the journey you take towards happiness.