It was sixteen months ago when my world turned inside out and I was hospitalized for the first time in my life with what I now know was bipolar.
I only got that diagnosis during that particular hospital stay, for the previous ten years I had been treated for just depression (not ‘just’ depression…but you know what I mean). It was a pretty big deal finding out this new diagnosis for me for many reasons. One was it meant my doctor had to withdraw me off my current medication and put me on new ones. Now I’ve never had to withdraw from nicotine or hard drugs before, but withdrawing from Effexor (antidepressant) was revolting. I couldn’t feel my skin and I kept getting dizzy spills every few minutes along with this feeling of doom constantly hovering over me.
It was at this time my husband decided it was best to leave me. Now before you start hating him – and don’t worry I’ve been pretty mad at the situation for a while now – we had our problems. Problems that were not discussed by either of us and I feel sad that they weren’t. I feel sad that only 20 months before the end was when the two of us committed to each other till death do us part and sealed with an ‘unbreakable’ kiss. I think there are even celebrities who’ve had a longer marriage than what I’ve had.
The resulting separation meant I lost my house and one of my beautiful dogs, all while in hospital. And to put the cherry on the top my beloved workplace – a place where I had the most understanding, supportive boss EVER – had to shut down due to funding issues.
Was this the universe cleaning the slate for new beginnings, I wonder?
After the last 26 months of turmoil, hurt, anger and sadness I like to think I’ve now been cleansed and can look at the world with new, empathic eyes. I don’t believe anyone can go through a two year depressed state, where much of it was in a suicidal state, and not come out the other side very much changed.
I’m still pretty fragile, but underneath that I can feel a strength growing that I never knew I had. I just need to remember to nurture that strength and I’m sure it will bloom.
This coming Monday I will start a 12-month contract for a two-day a week research job at a university. I’m stoked. Stoked because this means I’m coming back into this world to live, not just to exist.
But I must remember to take baby steps. I must also remember that those negative thoughts that are never too far away are okay, because I just need to keep moving forward and prove them wrong.
So here’s to a clean slate. May you be a lesson to me in how to live a more authentic life.