So, unless you count emotional periods due to pre-menopause, I continue to enjoy mental stability and a break from the chemical disaster that is Bipolar I with psychotic features. I am now taking Lithium, Geodon and Lamictal, apparently the correct-ish cocktail for me for what is I hope a permanent state allowing me to function as normally as someone without a serious medical condition.
This new freedom comes with an ever-improving perspective on my life. I have worked hard, since graduating from college at 19, to achieve the career, family and freedom I so craved–I can see now that I have actually achieved that life, and that I have actually been living it for twelve years now unbeknownst to me for most of that time because I was crushed under the weight of so many breakdowns.
If my struggle with mental illness has gained me anything positive at all, it is that it really is worth fighting against the current, even when that current seems to actually be a whirlpool bent on sinking you for biological reasons that could be impossible to completely be freed from no matter how much effort, available medication, support and love you have on your side.
Even though I have seriously tried to give up on my life eight times–actions which led to comas, three brain surgeries, 30ish inpatient stays in mental hospitals all over the state of Texas, my family’s confounded anguish and my profound regret, I have otherwise put up a somewhat valiant fight with my own chemical imbalance and have come to believe that life is actually much more good than bad, that the efforts I have forced myself to make in the darkest days (and they have been countless) might have cost me romantic love, friends and family members, but have tempered my soul and showed me what is really lasting and true.
The family and life I have created with my husband and daughter isn’t perfect, but it comes pretty close. This twelve year long experiment has had its moments of misery, most caused by my condition, but we do actually enjoy a comfortable life which includes a large home, good income, great school for my daughter, and one that enables me to write articles and publish novels, create visual art, have time to meditate and journal daily, to rest if I need to, and to wonder what I did to deserve the life I dreamt of back twenty years ago when I thought it would be unlikely for me to achieve it at all.
There is far more good than bad in all of our lives, for all of us with a medical diagnosis of some kind or another. Sometimes realizing this is elusive because our conditions can blind us to this truth. It is possible to find the right medicine that will allow us all to see the grand beauty in choosing life over fear, misery and even when we feel exhausted, broken and disappointed because we feel that we will always be sick. This just isn’t true I am here to report–no matter how sick you have been, no matter how long, if you can just hang in there, you will find peace and joy and it will be because you deserve it.