Am I allowed to feel?

I find myself in new, unbidden territory; the world is awash with magic and I am sat in wonder inside the cyclone of emotion that is my mind. Just what am I allowed to feel?

I have never been here before. I have thought I was many a time but now the difference is stark and harsh.

The sweep of new emotion is so gargantuan that I would be remiss not to ponder the effect it will have on my mental health. I practice such careful management of my affliction that surely this newfound bliss will throw my stability out of the window? Am I allowed to feel this happy, is it ok to allow myself to be carried away in joy? Or in allowing this am I setting myself up for a deep swing into depression?

I find that I don’t care to know the answers to these questions. Logic tells me that these emotions, these feelings, are too full, too much, too wonderful for me to ever hope to cope with. Logic tells me that this is bordering on mania and that destruction and a fall will surely follow and yet this doesn’t feel like mania – this feels like a mutual meeting of destiny, is that the mania talking?

I am going to allow this wave of emotion, if I shut it down then perhaps I close the door on the future and what point is there in stability if I am too afraid to live? If only there were some way to look forward and see if it is worth the risk of shaking my slowly built foundation… but I feel, deep in my soul, that contentment lies at the feet of this choice and so I thrown caution to the wind and I live. I really live.

 

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Reclaiming my soul

You should know that I’m a dreamer; I am whimsical and ever so slightly odd. I am woefully socially inept but I try hard to get involved anyway. I am passionate and probably a little too rash. I long ago banished bitterness, hate and negativity from my life and from my soul and I do not invite it near me anymore. I practice painful honesty because secrets kept do more damage than the momentary discomfort of truth.  I care very little for material possessions which is lucky because I’m abysmal with money. I love my children more than anything they are the reason I am alive and I have worked hard to be more deserving of their unconditional love for me. I don’t like confrontation and will always strive to treat people with kindness. I am a thinker, an aspiring poet and an avid reader. I’m a hopeless romantic but sometimes I struggle with emotional intimacy. I am flawed. I am me. 

I have not always been this person. In fact I feel as though I have lived a great number of lives, each equipped with their own persona, in my relatively short time on this earth.

Somewhere, in the mess of lives that I have lived, I forgot who I really was. Or perhaps I didn’t ever really exist. I have sculpted this person from all the experiences of my past selves, I have moulded the mistakes into lessons and fashioned lessons into blessings. I have not created a perfect person – I have become a real one.

Living with the weight of mental illness is not easy but I have learnt that though some things are always going to be out with my control, I cannot use this affliction as an excuse. It does not justify bad behaviour or selfishness and it does not give me reason not to try. These are beliefs easier said than put into practice but I have made it my mission to push through the instinct to fester, to recline and revel in the misery that is mental illness. It is, after all, far easier to allow yourself to remain stagnant than to fight against the swelling, impossible tides of despair and hopelessness.

I didn’t realise when beginning this quest for balance and wellbeing that instead of pretending to be someone that I’m not once again, instead of another front or carefully constructed mask – I would actually uncover the person I was always meant to be. It lends a certain vulnerability to be you in every way and that is what I both love and despise about it but despite my reservations and discomfort I will endeavour to never be any less than me again.

I have worked hard to reclaim my soul, to live for the first time, to breathe. It is liberating to finally meet the me I should always have been.

1D Me

Ah, the first gleaming post of a new year… Full of hope and high expectations, just like all those before it – though my heart isn’t quite in it; I want so much more than the empty promise that this year will be bigger, better and more successful than all of the others. I want more than to get to the end and have to steel myself against the bitter disappointment that I am still merely human and no, I have not yet put an end to world hunger, found fame in a travelling circus nor brought world peace about with nought but a smile.

This year is about realism. January was shit. It is always shit. I forget this every year because it is easier that way than to be honest with myself. I flounce extravagance throughout November and December – it is a hub of social activity; if not with family , then with friends. Money flows through my fingers as though I were manufacturing it and as if that wasn’t enough to overstimulate and push ever closer to the clutches of mania, it is also all glittery, shiny and twinkly!!

January is the hangover month. Money is tight, because the me that existed at the end of 2016 couldn’t care less about the feeding and housing of the me of 2017. The last of the glitter has been cleared away and the family and friends have all retreated into normal routine once again – likely recovering from similar afflictions to mine.

And thus, here I sit – pondering. It is February and the hangover is receding yet hasn’t quite left the room but despite its lingering presence I feel more like my self than I have in a very long time. I don’t think I am myself very often – I don’t think I even know which version of me that I present is the authentic version of myself. I was with friends tonight and I recognised myself whilst there – I was relaxed, calm and simply spoke all of the things in my head with very little editing. I have realised that I don’t share myself with people. Most of the people who would claim to know me actually know very little about me or the things I have experienced in my life; they share personal details with me and I give a little in return but my stories are the edited version – they portray the me that I would like them to see or the me that I feel most relates to them. I am not every facet of myself with very many people.

I realise that I have grown to do this for a reason – it must be some form of protection that I have learnt along the way. I spent most of my childhood being judged and criticised for the person I was developing into; anything that was ridiculed, I changed it (even so far as changing my accent – to rid myself of the Devon lilt of my home that I was told made me sound as though I lacked intelligence) I would agonise over what was wrong with me and how I could fix it – I spent a long time believing that the true me was not interesting enough to be liked and lying to create a ‘better version’ – I made a conscious decision not to lie anymore when I was in my early twenties, the lies were growing and causing trouble and hurt feelings but I can see now that where the lies stopped, the evasiveness began. This is not something that I particularly want to continue… I am lonely. People can’t get close to me and nor will they want to if I continue to present this one dimensional version of me. I am so much more than you see – I am so much bigger on the inside.

This year I am not going to make empty promises to myself. I probably won’t significantly reduce the mammoth size of my bottom or win the lottery or get a job as an astronaut. But I will promise myself that I will try harder to be present in my own life – I will try harder to share the many weird and wonderful facets of me; to lay myself bare to the possibility of ridicule and rejection and just see what happens.

This year is not going to be any different than any others than have been before nor unlike those that will come after but I will be different, I will be the more that I have been looking for.

 

Well if you wanted honesty…

Hello my faithful old friend. It has been a while.

Life changes so quickly and yet progress seems hard to find; these past few months have been nothing short of abysmal and yet, not even close to the worst things have been – I suppose that is what I must remember when feeling as though my life and my progress are sliding backwards into the hungry maw of doom; things have been much worse, much, much worse.

My medication stopped at the end of January and though I can’t blame that for all of this gloom that hangs around me right now – it played its part like a weathered actor, it tore down my every defence; bashed against the walls of my management strategies and spat at the feet of mental health. I have had to learn again and all while my brain does the tango with the ebbing drugs that so soon before had been it’s lifeline and saviour… One might say it has been a rather unpleasant time and one might be understating things by gargantuan proportions.

I, rather naively, thought that the withdrawals would be the worst that I would have to deal with when coming off of my medication and they were dreadful – on the worst day I actually though I was going to die – but the worst of the withdrawals lasted only around a week, after that, though I felt odd, unfocused and generally unwell I could cope with them. It seems obvious now that it would not be the physical but the mental side of things that would bring me such trouble and despair… hasn’t it always been that way oh brain of mine? Haven’t you always made me suffer?

I use an app on my phone to chart my moods – I’ve done it for a while because it can be so difficult, whilst living and functioning, to stay mindful enough to recognise the swinging pendulum of moods that can be my downfall until it’s too late and by then I’m too far into an episode to heal and bring myself back from the brink. Before I leapt into life without medication I had reached a spree of middle ground type moods – my swings were fewer and there were less peaked moods. My charts looked clean and healthy… since stopping my medication the charts have been feverish; great peaks and troughs; spikes of anxiety and paranoia lace the pages and my life grows ever more unstable. Until, this month – or rather these last two weeks… Now, I can start to see my moods calming and though things still feel desperate, dismal and dark I can finally start to see the faint glimmer of hope shining on the horizon… I promised I would be O.K. regardless and I will; because I fight, because I am trying whether you see it or not, whether you believe it or not. My progress may not look like much from the outside but on the inside I wage a war to rival all wars, a battle to end all battles, it is a race for health, a dash for sanity…

And sometimes remarkable things happen when you show what you can do and who you can be and then stumble for a while – the people who you fought so hard to convince the first time round – the ones who were unsure anything was wrong with you, the ones who, though you didn’t see it at the time, fought alongside you – they believe this time and they become the strength at your back, urging you on because they see it now – they understand now that this shell of a human is not you – your potential is much greater. So, though we stumble and regress and end up in the waters of oblivion once again – now, we have a hand to hold, a tether to the real world, a lifeline… mine is my mum – without her, I would not be here; I owe her a lot… and could there be more fitting a day to tell her than this, mother’s day?

So yes, life is not so good right now, decisions must be made and outcomes fought for. I am in a limbo – awaiting the correct paths to take and hoping all of this despair and anguish is happening for a reason. But whether there is light or darkness surrounding me, I see the sparks of hope and where there are sparks, there shall soon be fire.

The media circus *Trigger warning*

I am loathe to write this post; I almost feel as though in doing so I am adding to the very problem I am about to complain about and yet if ever I needed to write something; this is it.

It has been a tough week in the world of Bipolar disorder. I’m sure we have all been struck by the untimely death of Robin Williams; it is a tragedy. My online support group has been finding the whole thing incredibly difficult (as have I) not only the way the way the media has spun the story in as many ways as possible to make reading it all unavoidable but also the apparent ignorance in claiming he suffered with depression when it is widely known that he was a fellow Bipolar disorder sufferer… (a very different illness)  I believe they reported it this way because it is a more widely coined term and they believe more people will understand this; however, many within my support circles believe it is a missed opportunity to discuss Bipolar disorder in a more open forum and perhaps attempt to de-stigmatise what has become a disease that is so widely ridiculed.

I do find it incredibly sad that this apparently effervescent man found that he could no longer carry on and as a person with Bipolar disorder it fills me with dread and sadness; is that my future? You always hope you’ll have it all figured out by the time you get to that age; this somehow just confirms that it will always be a struggle – there will always be a fight to be fought.

It is hard to explain in a way that the everyday person will understand but the constant publication of details of a mans downfall, leading to suicide which is explicitly described in several publications is very dangerous to many with Bipolar disorder; it plants the seed of suicide – which then has the potential to breed within your mind. I have a very visual mind and when I was in the midst of my biggest suicidal period, hanging was an obsession of mine – I can literally picture myself dying that way; from finding a rope, to the actual act itself and all the motions in-between… I realise that will be disturbing for some to read – so imagine what it is like to have that image on a loop within your mind; meaning that even if you aren’t low enough to contemplate suicide ordinarily, reading about it described so thoroughly means you are still at risk of obsessing about the act and then potentially following through with those obsessive thoughts.

My Facebook is literally filled with tributes and news stories about him and his death making Facebook a dangerous place for me at the moment. My Bipolar support group is all suffering in the same way; we cannot seem to stop reading and we cannot seem to stop discussing it all… does it mean the same for us? Are we bound to reach the same sad fate? Even as I sat on the bus two days ago I was faced with multiple images of his face and headlines of a provocative nature from the many strewn metro newspapers. There is no escape and no reprieve from this story and so it is all consuming…

I think the ignorance of the media is that they believe in publicising his suicide in a sensitive and understanding way, they are not causing damage; I do not think they are aware that a whole massive community of people are potentially on the verge of copycat action because of the sensationalist and relentless way in which they have approached this.

And yet; I cannot tell you how they could have done it differently. He deserves the many gleaming tributes; he had a massive impact on so many lives – the way his children have paid tribute to him is heartbreakingly wonderful and a glimpse into the man he truly was – he has played part in many of my favourite films… yes, he deserves to be mourned.

And the truth is; I wanted to know how he died and the news that he was also suffering with Parkinson’s disease makes sense to me; for dealing with both this illness and another is something I’m not sure I would stay to weather either… I don’t now how we fix this damaging age of media sensationalism and propaganda; I certainly am not one to suggest the censorship of media and the truth is that it has always been this way – only in the age of the internet, mobile apps and all manner of other instant communication it is a lot harder to avoid reading this kind of hype. The really harrowing thing is that we all want this information – we seek it and feed upon it like the vultures we so often are; but just because we want something does not mean it is healthy for us – it does not mean we should have such instant access to such a font of information…

If this week has brought anything to light it is that we still have a long way to go before mental illness is understood or at least de-stigmatised within the public domain. One day we will get to the point where ignorance does not prevail; maybe one day it will not be too much to ask for all provocative media publications to carry trigger warnings as food would declare its potential allergens… at least then there is an element of choice for those of us at risk… something to make us stop and think before we read/listen. And maybe one day it won’t be too much for the media to state the correct mental illness rather than using a blanket term for ease of understanding…

To all my fellow Bipolar sufferers I say, be cautious – be mindful of the things you read and expose yourself to; pay attention to how it makes you feel before your mood/obsession has leave to get out of control; talk to those around you or failing that, find an online group of people who understand that you can vent these emotions to – the therapy in talking through the way you feel is bigger than you can imagine; communicate with medical professionals – stay open, stay honest; however silly or illogical it might seem.

To those who do not suffer with Bipolar disorder; I hope this has at least given you a small insight into what I am sure it is hard to fathom… and I hope that you too will be mindful of the content you share, knowing, now, the potential effect.

 

 

Perfection

Nothing will ever be perfect. And yet, we all strive for perfection – we carry on until the day we die, accruing possessions, furthering careers, furnishing rooms and gilding nature… There is no end to it because it is never enough. How ironic then, that so many of us seek reprieve from these never-ending tasks in the wiles of nature – unblemished, untouched nature; where the sky and the sea meet in a silent confrontation of wills, where bird song reins supreme and instead of the choke of pollution, the breeze carries the smell of life in its wake.

Why do we build these fences, just to sit outside of them for a sense of peace?

Almost every thought I have lately is about the future – betterment and contentedness. How do I reach a point in time where I feel as though I am being all that I can be and doing all that I can do? The answer, I now realise, is that it will never happen – I am chasing nothing… an impossibility.

I will never feel as though I am all I can be because there will always be more I want to achieve or more I feel I could have done; and that’s ok… but it doesn’t mean that I am failing and it doesn’t mean I’m not doing enough, it doesn’t mean that I am not enough.

Mindfulness is a wonderful tool that I learnt to use during my CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy –  It is essentially, as I understand it, the art of being present in the here and now. Feel what you feel today, see what is around you right at this moment… live today. There will always be the stresses of tomorrow to contend with or the heartaches of yesterday but why ruin this day with thoughts of what if or bitterness over something that isn’t happening right now. When we hold on to pain we only punish ourselves and fill the rest of our days with agony that only grows in strength and aggression… When we worry or plan for things that are out of our control we only ruin the time we have… we miss the positives of the now – I dread to think of the smiles of my children that I have missed while consumed by depression; but instead of dwelling upon those dreadful times I choose to notice and appreciate every smile in the here and now… I cannot correct the past or map the future but I am the master of the now, I control today.

As I sit here I can practice being mindful… I can feel the tap of my fingers on the keys of my laptop – feel the breeze from the open door next to me and smell the night air that I love so very much and find so fresh and crisp… I feel the music I am playing as I write this; I feel it in my very soul – as it surges, so do I; as it calms, I follow suit. I do not berate myself for any negativity that might cross my mind – loneliness permeates the night… I feel it and then I let it drift away on the beautiful night time breeze… for I have my words for company and my mind to fulfil me.

It is time to start appreciating the things I have done, the good I have around me… Time to let go of feeling as though I am somehow failing at life. It is not time to stop the climb to betterment or contentedness for why wouldn’t we strive for more positivity… but it is important to remember that no matter how far up the ladder to peace I reach, I am worthwhile and I have done all I needed to.

I have so much more than so many other people and there are so many things that I will never know what it is like to do without… I have my health, I have two healthy, sassy and independent children, I have family, I have acceptance, I have budding possibilities… my life is full.

I know that I will not always be able to think this way – that is the inevitability of living with Bipolar disorder; things that seem like common sense today will tomorrow feel like impossibilities… but I hope that I will look back on this and that even in my darkest hours, I will strive to be mindful of all that I am and all that I have accomplished.

Upon reflection

I like to sit back and reflect at where I am, where I have been and where I’m going. I do this often, a sort of contemplative ritual and yet I am always taken aback at what I find; how far I have come.

So why does life feel as though its always at a standstill? Stagnant…

The small victories that I learnt so diligently to praise myself for, no longer feel like achievements.

This time last year it was all about management; making it through the kids summer holidays without falling into despair. I wrote a plan of action; an itinerary of sorts to keep myself on the move… this year I did not write a plan and yet three weeks into the seven week holiday and we have already, without thinking, done more than I ever thought possible – or managed – previously. Still, it doesn’t feel like enough – there is too much empty time, too often I lay in lethargy – unable or perhaps just unwilling to move.

Where does life go from here?

Such a lot has changed over the last ten years and yet nothing has changed – it repeats, it repeats… Forever doomed to live my tortures over again.

My mind is the poison, my thoughts the disease – there is no antidote, no cure for this ailment of mine.

I feel good about my soul; the person I know I am inside – I know that person shines through for those who take the time to look hard enough but it shouldn’t be a hidden thing. Why do I continue to hide when the past is the past and can no longer hurt me. The person I am inside has no influence on this dismal ‘safe’ life I’m living… There is no me in these walls.

From suicide to catatonia. From screaming to silence. From tears to debt. From destruction to hatred. I have come so far; I have weathered so much – it cannot all be for this miserable life, there must be more.

Spring forward

I wonder how often our lives fall into sync with the earth. The petals fall from fragrant cherry blossoms, flowers begin to bloom and leaves appear – animals prepare to bring forth new life and April showers leave the earth fresh and cleansed. How keenly the spring mirrors the events of my own life… The ending of things past and the beginning of new, fresh adventures; How difficult it is not to sully the now with memories and fears of the past.

Today I had my very last appointment with my support worker and a couple of weeks ago I was discharged from under my psychiatrist’s care. I knew this was coming and I know it is the right time to sever these elements of support – they have done all they can for me – and yet, it leaves me with mixed emotions nonetheless. I say goodbye to what was essentially a very empowering, yet difficult, piece of my life (seeking and seeing through the help I so desperately needed) with a heavy heart and move forward with hope and the faith that I am able to maintain this wonderful level of stability. I also hold a great amount of fear and doubt though… What if I fall once again? Do I have the strength to get up again? Would I even want to? I suppose my fear has heightened now because there is no fall back – I am responsible for me, I must manage this condition alone and that is a scary prospect regardless of whatever support I may have around me.

I was thinking just the other day about the difference a small passage of time can make to a person… I am well aware of the difference I have made in my own life and even my personality over the past ten years but even the past two years hold a great significance and many accomplishments – My life now, but my outlook on life especially, is vastly different to what it was then. In 2012 I was watching myself begin to crumble again – I had to give up my English degree and accept that it was just too much pressure for me at that time… I sought help for my illness properly for the very first time, I did battle with family members who weren’t ready or able to accept my illness and realised exactly who I could rely on. I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and sent into therapy… I was a mass of anger, bitterness and pain.

Life is eons away from that now. I hold no anger or bitterness – Its often hard to remember the massive strides I have taken into health and the work that it took just to get me to a place where I could get up and out of bed every morning – take pride in my appearance and really love and respect the person that I am. I may not have a big career, I may not have money or any of the other things that other people use to judge success and happiness by but I have health, stability, I have the support of those who love me, self respect, two fabulous children and a future that doesn’t look quite so gloomy…

And so, like the spring, some things must end and others are just beginning. I am in a new relationship – one that feels healthy and right and wonderful. I am looking to maintain my management techniques in stepping up my meditation times and keeping busy – among other things. I remain painfully honest about anything and everything; even within my new relationship… it is not always easy to bare your soul for others to judge but the liberation that comes with knowing that you never need to be anything less than your authentic self and nothing is ever going to crop up an ruin your happiness, that freedom, is worth any awkwardness.

I move on; to new challenges, new adventures – and I take you with me Bipolar disorder – wherever I go, but on I move regardless…

The end of innocence

*Trigger warning*

Tonight I watched a film; I don’t often watch much of anything but sleep was not forthcoming, loneliness permeated the walls and so I sought the company of the small screen – what I received was so much more than I bargained for.

The main story was not what caught my interest as much as that of a small backstory about a so called ‘mother who never should have taken up the job of being a mother’ – married to an alcoholic who cannot hold down a job, living in the middle of nowhere with three children and unable to cope. Her husband sickens and is on his death bed and one night she creeps into the bedroom of her children ‘I know you prefer your father… one day you’ll understand’ she states, off she walks into the night and wades into a river with the intent of drowning her sorrows – literally. Her eldest daughter, of around eight years old, follows her and pleads with her to come back until eventually the mother breaks into wracks of sobs and apologies.

I am captivated by this story and moved to tears. It hits me within my very soul and it seems clear to me that this is because it so keenly mirrors my own past experiences.

I was that mother. My husband was a good one, but immature and unequipped to support me in much the same way as the husband in the story and at 21 I found myself living in the middle of nowhere with two children and a house to manage and no idea of where to start nor how to cope. I had always suffered with what I thought at the time was a crippling depression but since the births of my children it had worsened considerably and as I strived to be all that, to my mind, a mother and wife should be I felt failure from every direction and judgement closing in. I could not keep up to the high standards that I had set myself and I struggled with my two young children who, due to my miserable state, preferred the company of anyone but me – and so I never felt as though I were doing quite well enough at being me…

I talk about many things to do with my illness and the dire moments within my most desperate times but there are some subjects I seldom approach… This subject is one that I haven’t gone near. Mainly because I was not in a healthy enough place to think through and share my experiences without spurring dark thoughts and dismal temptations. I have never really spoken with anyone about these times in my life, it is unpleasant for them to hear and still such a taboo topic that it is difficult to know where to start.

Six years ago, I was in the midst of what I am now told was a complete psychotic break. The name does it more than justice; I was anger personified, rage and misery. I was not in control, I seldom slept leading to near insanity and as far as I was concerned the world was against me… There was no logic to my actions, no reason for the way I behaved or felt or thought… no excuse good enough. I don’t remember many things about that time, times with my children are lost forever and any experiences I might have had in those years are also lost to me… I do remember being an abysmal human being, I remember the hatred and the absolute frustration. Some moments stand out more than others, above all, I remember clearly my strong and passionate desire to die.

I made many attempts to end my life and spent many a day imagining ways to do it, even so far as researching ‘easy ways to die’ online… if it wasn’t so painfully pitiful it would almost be laughable. I felt strongly that everyone, but most importantly my children, would be better off without me… I imagined, in my twisted and illogical way, how happy they would be when I was out of their lives – as far as I was concerned, I was a burden, a plague… worthless. I used to try and get my husband to take the children out alone often so that it would give me a chance to devise ways of dying, I felt that it was ok as long as they weren’t in the house – as though it would not affect them if they weren’t there to see it.

I even remember one day writing out my suicide notes; one to each of my children – I don’t remember much of what I wrote but I do remember clearly one line ‘…This world was just not for me…’ as if that would make it alright, as if that explained it all. I don’t know how serious I was in my attempts to die – I never really got close to succeeding and so I wonder if, in some place within my mind, I knew it was wrong.

I remember a brush with someone’s attempted suicide when I was a little girl and my mother describing it as ‘such a selfish thing’ I was never convinced – it is my life; it will better others lives if I were gone and so surely it is almost selfless to die? Oh, the flawed and self-serving logic of someone on the lowly track to doom.

I have often looked back upon that time in my life but never as clearly as I do now and I suppose that can be attributed to the fact that suicide is not an option I even consider anymore – my mental health is such that I am content in the knowledge that I am wanted, loved and needed and that regardless of those facts, I am worthwhile. Death holds no appeal anymore… and so, now when I look back on that time all I see are my children. What if I had succeeded in my plan to rid the world of me – where would they be now? Who would they be? Why did I think I had the right to end their magical innocence – did I truly believe I could remove myself and leave them unscathed. Yes, it is indeed a selfish thing.

I think of them one day opening those letters full of empty words that I wrote in an attempt to redeem and excuse myself and I break inside at the thought of their reactions and at the thought of inflicting such pain upon them simply to run from my own agony.

I was not a natural mother and still now I need to work hard at being the best I can for my children, as we all do. I was a dreadful housewife and I still am; I wish someone had told me that some people are just not made to keep a perfect house and that in the grand scheme of things it is of little importance how high your washing is piled and how long it takes you to wash a dish… Life is about more. I wish I had known that it was ok that I didn’t immediately bond with my children – that it was normal for it to feel akin the banging my head against a wall the majority of the time… I wish I had let life happen instead of trying to mould it into my perception of perfection because when perfection didn’t come I felt personal failure and misery.

I wonder when I lost my innocence. When did I lose those rose tinted glasses that never left my face as a child and start seeing the world in tones of grey. I don’t remember when it happened or why… I wish I did, merely so I could avoid doing it to my children.

I am always so happy when something prompts me to look at things from another angle and so I am grateful to this seemingly innocuous film that has brought about such a new tone of reflection for me; I am grateful that I did not steal the innocence of my children and that I get to see them blossom and grow into young people that I love with all my heart and am proud of with every inch of my soul. I am grateful for the life lessons that have taught me that perfection and whether or not the carpets have been hovered are not what children remember of their childhood nor what is important.

I am still learning; aren’t we all? I am learning to let life flow – a difficult lesson… I am learning to love, to care, to notice and feel joy… learning to live within the moment and cherish every day. I hope to always be learning.

Back then, in my darkest days, I felt incapable. I never dreamt that I could do what I do now. Be a single parent, provide and care for my children alone – make them happy all by myself, keep a functioning (if not always clean) house and feel healthy and content in myself… feel pride in myself. If these things felt impossible to me then I wonder what is to come in the future – anything might happen, dreams might come true.

And so now, this version of me, will strive to preserve innocence where the me of the past once sought to eradicate it.

Lttf

Life. It is never what we feel it ought to be. It does nothing that we ask it to and yet; it always takes us exactly where we’re meant to be.

I have come to the conclusion that tears are good and laughter is better, that instead of ruling my emotions I must allow them to breathe, watch them, learn from them, deal with them, talk about them to people who care. Suppression never made anyone feel whole. What an important lesson to have learned; that emotion is ok, that feeling is ok, that the way I function is ok! I feel as though I know myself inside and out, there are very few stones left unturned and it leaves me feeling secure in my own skin and free to sense who and what I should surround myself with. I feel more love than ever before pouring in from those around me and I can’t decipher if it because they love me more or that I see it now, I feel it now but it doesn’t matter because I feel it and I know that I deserve it.

I am proud, painfully proud, of the me I am today and of the battles I have fought and am yet to fight and yet I am oh so disappointed; but that is good, because that means there is more to come from me, I can do more, I can be more… I have finally come to the place where there is no desperation. no need, just hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. I never thought I would reach this place.

I have never felt so free within myself, so in control and terrified of the potential drop from these stable heights…

There will be turmoil. There will be desperate lows and maddening highs; nothing will stop my Bipolar. But I hope that on those days I return to this post and see that it is ok… because the people around me love me regardless, I have lain myself bare and they have accepted me, it is ok because I love me regardless…. It is ok because I am invariably good! It is ok because once the tears have fallen, the money spent, the harsh words said and the darkness banished, I have me and I have them and I will be ok again.