Three pills in the morning and one a night. They are supposed to keep me more stable and balanced. They are supposed to help me fight the monsters of depression and the energy of the mania. I have the dosages adjusted by my psychiatrist. I see my therapist most weeks. We are working on coping strategies to help me deal with my anxiety disorder. We are also working through some of my self-worth and self-validation issues.
I’m doing the work.
I’m doing what it takes to get healthy and stable, to not let my bipolar own me, control me, rule my life. I’m working hard at this and believe me it is hard work. All I knew for a long time has been the volatile rhythms of depression and mania. I’m changing all that. Now I’m getting to know healing, leaning into wholeness, finding that stability I need to take control of my brain and emotions.
And it scares the shit out of me.
At some level, I am afraid to heal. I am afraid of getting better, being more in control, living healthy. I am afraid that the drugs are working, that the therapy is good for me, that I can do this. I’m terrified of all this because I don’t know what’s on the other side.
I don’t know what it is to live with bipolar and not have it possessing me like some demon. That is the reality I lived with for so long. And now that reality is passing away. I am getting better. My anxiety is slowly being tamed and my moods are now stable. I am better than I was. I’m not yet where I will be, but I’m not where I used to be.
I am healing.
This idea of a healthy life lived feels so out of my control. I have no idea how to picture it. It’s as if I lived my life under water and now am expected to walk and breathe on land. It’s just so foreign to me, so alien. So I am afraid of this change, this metamorphosis from a bipolar man into a human living with bipolar, from being defined and controlled by my disease to simply living my life knowing that my illness is part of it.
I’m afraid because I don’t know what to expect and it is all outside of my control.
But this is what it is to heal from a mortal wound. Standing with one foot in the grave taints your world, gives it a certain hue. Living unhinged (which will kill me, it’s just a matter of when) shaped my world in ways that are even buried in my subconscious. Now that these thoughts and patterns are being exhumed from my life, I am becoming free from them, free from old thinking habits, free from emotional numbness, free from suicidal thoughts and self-harm tendencies. I am becoming free.
As scary as it is, I am trying to embrace this change, not letting my fear of healing drag me back into the old habits and ways. As comfortable as those old places are, they are places of sickness and deadly to me. As easy as it would be to go back, I won’t.
I will face this fear and I will see what is on the other side, what a healthy life can be.
I don’t want to shrink back from healing, after all we all were made to heal. We were designed by God to heal from our brokenness, from the wounds we receive both physically and emotionally. We are designed to get better, to move towards health. We may not understand what that health really looks like, or what it is to live whole, but we are finding out. It’s scary as hell, but we are learning what it is to be whole, to live lives of health and wellness rather than the brokenness and death we have become accustomed to.
So, no matter how beyond my imagination living healthy is, I am learning what that means day by day, as I take my meds, go to therapy, do the hard work. I am learning what it means to heal.