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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If

If now is not the time

If your heart is not yet mine

If you need to take things slow

If I let you run the show

I’ll dream a dream of you

and dream again tomorrow

Hopefully the truth will be quick to follow

 

If it was never real

and all we are was lies

If I imagined what I feel

If the budding bloom soon dies

I’ll dream a dream of you

and hold it in my heart

and tomorrow perhaps

True love will start

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…

A fools game

There are many negatives to never having had a functional and healthy relationship and one of those is that you cannot judge what is right and what is wrong so easily… Am I being made a fool of? Is this healthy? Is this right?
How much time do you offer someone before you are wasting your time? Is it all relative?

For all my attempts to take this new dating venture with a pinch of salt, I am still finding myself speaking in increasingly intense tones… I berate myself and then I wonder if perhaps this is just the person I am and so perhaps I should just embrace this part of myself.

I have no idea what is acceptable and what is not in this new world and I suppose the methods of communication don’t help either… Can you really tell who is genuine in a written message? I love writing for the very fact that you can be anyone you want within the written word and so who is to say these men are real?

Perhaps I am just over thinking… Over analysing… It wouldn’t be the first time. I wish I could share myself without laying myself bare, so vulnerable but for some reason I can’t… I worked hard to get to this point, where I am open and honest and I find it incredibly liberating but it is also new to me in this vain. In relationships before this I was closed, I lied to make myself seem more interesting and appealing to the other person and so everything felt safer and further away from me because if I were rejected it wasn’t the real me being rejected… This does not feel safe, this feels raw. Maybe that is how everyone feels?

Do other people worry about these things? Is it just a case of going with the flow?

I’m unsure of my next move but perhaps it is time to move with more caution in these games of the heart…

Choices

My mind has been an invariable fortress these past weeks. In attempting to spare the people around me from the negativity I feel inside I have shut everything and everyone out and retreated to that black place inside me; which is the lesser evil? Sharing your suffering and feeling a slight bit better or suffering in silence and leaving those you love in a state of blissful ignorance… and will suffering in silence bring about the end of my precarious grip on sanity once again?

~I know that my loved ones would insist that they are here for me no matter what mood, however negative. But is it not my responsibility to own this illness? It would be so very easy to drag everyone into this hellish pit with me but what good would it do, what use are they there? When I was in CBT with my fabulous therapist, Evelyn, she would tell me to use the people around me for what they are able to provide, whether that be nurture, companionship, sociability, fun… etc. She would tell me to learn what to expect from these people and not to ask any more of them than that. She would say that then I could enjoy their company without the nagging feeling that something was missing, without the constant ache for more than they were giving. Watch the people around you, take them in, learn who they are and their finer qualities and remind yourself often that those people are there for you in that capacity and no other… It seems such a cold way to deal with people; a detached and almost cruel way to view a human being, especially those that you are supposed to care for. But when social interaction is something to be forced, when you do not understand how to accomplish the basic need for that interaction then it is a logical form in which to view such a complex thing, such a difficult thing to comprehend. We all weigh people up in our minds, though often it is subconsciously, I need to do this in conscious thoughts. What good can I get/give from/to this person I have brought into my fold? If the answer is none then why remain close to them? I wish I had had that advice when moving into relationships as a young woman, I could have spared myself from a lot of bad situations. I wish I had thought of the good/bad I was bringing into my life. Of course a person bringing negativity or bad things into your life does not necessarily make them a bad person; just the wrong person for you… and that lesson is a hard earned one.

People in general strive for good, for positivity and so it is rare to come across a person who is purposefully bringing bad things to you. But desperate situations can cause desperate reactions and therein begins the great heartache and pain; I have caused a great amount of heartache and pain and I have also felt my fair share but none of this makes me or those others bad people, we were young and stupid, we were incompatible and impulsive; we made mistakes and were too foolish and naïve to know that relationships are a carefully forged things based on hard work and chemistry; not something to dive into and hope for the best and definitely not something that will come naturally to all.

I have come to the realisation recently that I have never considered a partner before jumping into a relationship with them; I was always amazed that anyone wanted me at all and that was the only criteria for them to fit – you simply had to like me. But that alone will not sustain a relationship and in the end it would always turn out not to be enough for me. I craved love so desperately that anything, anyone would do and so of course it was never going to work. I don’t know why I was always so terrified to be alone, I was so convinced that I wasn’t worth anything… I have more self worth now and if a potential relationship crosses my path it will have to be the right one.

I suppose another block for me in forging relationships is that I always felt so intimidated by men and still do often; my dad was a force to be reckoned with and we rarely saw eye to eye. Growing up with such an imposing male role model has certainly impeded my ability to connect and properly communicate with men. Though my interaction with men is slowly improving with the introduction of male friends and acquaintances.

I am still fearful that I will forever be alone and that nobody will ever want me; but I believe that I am strong enough now not to let that fear dictate my choice of partner. There will be no leaping into a relationship with just anyone – that’s not to say it will be the right relationship and that I wont still make mistakes but it will be one I am happy to enter into and that feels right to me.

As for my relationships with friends and family; I don’t quite know that to do there – they are so unfailingly supportive that more often than not I feel as though I am letting them down, I wish I could motivate myself to do more because there is so much more I could to improve my situation and my mental health but it feels so far beyond my capabilities, so out of reach that I cannot see a way forward.

I wish I had logged my thoughts and feelings way back from the very start of the decline of my mental health, through my psychotic break, the breakdown of my marriage and births of my children – through every bust relationship and attempted suicide because I am certain that if I were to compare then to now the improvements would be staggering to me but without that visual proof it is hard to remind myself and convince myself of how far I have come – how much lighter the darkness is compared to then…

I still struggle with the knowledge that there is no way to fix this, that this is my past, present and future and that management is my only way forward. It is a bitter pill to swallow; knowing that I will be mentally ill for the rest of my days and that I must forever manage this illness. I may relapse into uncontrollable swings and then once again have to climb the ladder of sanity… I will forever be fighting this battle – what positivity is there to draw from that? What hell awaits me?

The sparkling stars and the lonely hearts

Night time, when the stimuli of the day has settled into a gentle slumber and the company has retreated, the kids are in bed and all is quiet except the incessant chattering of your relentless mind.

I love the night, the fresh, crisp feel of the air. There is absolutely nothing I love more than standing outside at night and just taking a deep breath, it awakens the soul; it feels like freedom, pure pleasure. I love the atmosphere of the night, the quiet stillness, I love the stars and the perspective that gazing at them can bring when all hope seems lost.

I am nothing if not a romantic.

There is also a loneliness about the night that my brain strains to fill, endless one-way conversations, arguments and debates circling around and around my mind. I am an obsessive analyser, there is not one event in my day that I will not mentally strip search whilst on my paranoid quest, I analyse every conversation I have had in that day, the ways in which people (both significant and otherwise) have looked at me, the conversations I should/could have had, the potential scenarios of the next day/week/month; the longer my analysis continues the higher my anxiety soars, it is agonising and exhausting.

At one time I didn’t have anyone that I could talk to about my Bipolar disorder or the strange and often frightening symptoms that come with it but now there are so many people around me that I could reach out to and talk things through with (as I often do) still, night-time is the one time that I am completely alone with my insecurities, paranoia and anxiety. I miss the company, I miss the warmth of another body next to mine, I miss the gentle caress of someone who cares that I cannot sleep because my brain won’t let me. I want to be told that it’s all going to be alright by someone who will always be there whether it is alright or not, not just whilst the sun is in the sky, but always. I miss all that I have never had and more.

I am afraid of intimacy. I fear that due to the every changing nature of my illness I will never have the ability to maintain a relationship and that if I do manage by some small miracle to maintain a relationship, I will end up making that other person miserable or dragging them into the crazy pool with me. Can I have Bipolar disorder and be loved? Do I have the ability to make someone else happy? Why would anyone knowingly take on such a burden?

I have only ever wanted to be loved, as a child, teenager and now as a woman; it is all I felt I never had and all I have ever strived to achieve. I just want to be good enough to be loved. I now know that I have been loved by many people, but I never truly believed that they loved me until I learnt to love myself. I am more loved now than I have ever been in my life, I am surrounded by an overwhelming amount of love and compassion and it fills me with joy and a deep sense of self-worth. I know I can survive without a relationship to balance upon, I know my worth, I know that I don’t need a relationship to feel whole but still, the sparkling stars send an ache to my lonely heart.