I think it’s time to set the record straight about my life with bipolar disorder. That’s the point, you see. My life is not just about having bipolar disorder. It is so much more than that. I am so much more than that.
I have talked about so many aspects of bipolar disorder that I have made myself and my life feel like specimens under a microscope. And if I feel that way, I can imagine what you think.
My life is not a pendulum that swings constantly between episodes of mania and depression. That’s one part of it and it does takes up one piece of me. There are so many other pieces left to explore.
I have a great life. It’s not without it’s ups and downs, but who does have a life without any bumps in it? So, I will repeat myself. I have a great life. It’s certainly far superior to what it was prior to my diagnosis.
I have a beautiful vacation spot on the rocky coast of Maine and a splendid Victorian in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Before the pandemic, if my husband and I wanted to go to the Caribbean, we went. If we wanted to go to Europe, we went.
I have an incredible family – also not without its ups and downs – but still incredible. And the most extraordinary thing in of all this is that I still have my amazing 86-years young mother, who plays a huge role in our lives. She has a vital and special place in my life and in my heart.
How much better can it get, you ask? Well, my husband just retired and we’re having the time of our lives together. We enjoy simple things like sitting together with a cup of coffee or talking in front of a fire. We’ll be sharing a glass of wine during the middle of the week, look at one another, and decide to go out to dinner; we do that a lot. We both hate to cook and we’re avid foodies.
We decided on the spur of the moment last week to spend a few days in New York seeing plays, splurging on great food, sightseeing, and ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Well, he skated and I slid on my butt most of the time but I had a blast doing it.
The point is that we’re loving sharing retirement together, regardless of what we’re doing. And we spend separate time doing our own things, too. He loves to watch movies and work around the house. I love to write because I’m working on two completely different books right now. Both of them are far along and I pray every day that all will go according to my dreams with both projects.
My hubby gives me a lot of space when I’m writing obsessively. He knows it has been my dream to be a writer since I wrote my first chapters in sixth grade. He supports me wholeheartedly. In fact, there’s no fiercer taskmaster when he feels that I’m slacking off. He’s vital to keeping me focused when I stray in a direction I shouldn’t go. That’s the advantage of having someone who has known you from the beginning. He knows that writing keeps me grounded.
It’s great that we have so many shared interests and yet like to pursue our own activities as well. I’m writing blogs, articles, and books. He’s restoring our home one room at a time. We’re in different rooms but we each know that the other is close by.
I continue to practice all of my self-care routines – from reading and practising yoga to sleeping well. But my husband’s newly retired status has made a big difference in my general peace of mind. I’m calm and happy.
I spend most of my life calm, happy, and pursuing a normal lifestyle. Yes, bipolar episodes do occur and disrupt my life and the lives of those around me. That’s simply a fact of life that I have to accept – and I have accepted that. You make your peace with the things you cannot change and you live the best life that you can.
Bipolar comes and goes. I am a person with bipolar disorder. And along with all of that? I am a happy person who lives the rest of her fulfilling life like everyone else. And I am grateful for that life.
Deb Wilk writes for various publications and she runs her own blog, Living Bipolar.
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