I like to think of bipolar as my trusty sidekick. Where ever I go, she goes too, sometimes her presence is obvious, especially if I’m being down on myself and feeling out of place the world. Other times, she sits in the back seat, absorbed in a book, and couldn’t care less about me, as long as we’re driving somewhere we both want to go.
When she’s absorbed in the back of the car, not talking, not wanting my attention, I can enjoy the view, I can look at the scenery, I can be me. I don’t have the struggle with anxiety and generally worrying too much. I don’t have the shadow that falls across my mind telling me that I’m not good enough. I just have me, as I was as a child, before bipolar became my constant companion. I just have the way I love to lie in the sunshine, to watch my kids move their bodies in the garden (it was along a tight rope in the trees yesterday) I don’t have the feeling of restlessness that makes it hard to focus on anything that brings me joy.
A big part of my bipolar not being in complaint mode is that fact that I have a new part-time job at our local independent newspaper as a part-time reporter. I’m out in the community, meeting people, sharing stories and writing all the time. Time alone tends to breed discontent in my bipolar twin. If the noise of the world is in my head she knows it’s harder to get my attention.
On this 19th anniversary, I can say that having bipolar has given me the ability to find compassion in every situation. To see that others suffer like me, but their struggles are different. Mostly, it makes me realize how well I’ve done to make a life for myself that is real, that has tender moments bipolar cannot steal away from me. I will be pleased to wake up tomorrow morning and be on my way to 20 years with bipolar. Survivors always have the best stories.