Change – it happens every day. Whether change is positive or negative, it does one thing every time . . . it makes you re-evaluate your current position and either find a new path or alter the current one.
Let’s talk about big shifts ~
1) Some changes happen quickly but take a long time to work through afterward.
2) Other changes occur over a longer period of time and allow you to acclimate to those changes as time passes.
Abrupt changes are tough. They slam you in the face and say, “HERE! Sort through THIS!” That’s what happened to me when I realized my marriage of a quarter-century was slow-swirling in the bottom of a shallow well. A sudden realization of the enormity of my problems and the likelihood they’d not be resolved while in the marriage . . . well, it made me sick. I became mentally sick and there was an urgent need in me – I ran away from home and didn’t go back.
Let’s talk about metamorphoses. I knew what started my mental upheaval. It was my first child moving out of our home. The two “kids” were my life – literally. That nuclear family had cracked down the middle and was threatening to drop me into the abyss of whatever lie on the “outside” of that shelter. After seeing, for the first time, that I had to make a radical revolution in the way I lived, my mind went numb. Autopilot kind of took over.
So, those of you who are new subscribers (about 80 of you), now know a little about my recent past. Here’s a quick lo-down -
Year one – Manic behavior. Spent a lot of money, promiscuous (had a boyfriend at the same time I was going through divorce), flunked out of college twice, drank (I’m not a drinker), smoked (yuck), did other stuff I shouldn’t have (nothing serious), and other classic symptoms of mania. Started anti-anxiety drugs. Aimlessly wandered. Felt blind.
Year two – four – Mania settled and depression visited. Depression is a sneaky thing. At first, I had “bad days.” I couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t keep my mind working, so instead of finishing nursing school, I became a nursing assistant. Was so disappointed in myself. Just attending a few classes a week was tough. Gained 40 pounds, and tried half a dozen antidepressants. None worked well. Finally, I didn’t leave the house and barely left my bed. I didn’t attempt suicide but came extremely close twice. My support system kept me from leaving life. I was eventually on Bipolar II drugs.
Year five (present) – I have weaned off of all meds because I chose to do so (first time in five years!) with the help of my new doctor. I have FINALLY found a counselor that I click with. I’m back in college and making As and Bs!! My decision-making is better, my memory is better, and I leave the house on a regular basis.
I want to share my life with you because it’s been such a strange and difficult ride, and I hope it might shed light on some of your own problems. Three different people (friends and my mother- who doesn’t give accolades where they aren’t warranted) have called me courageous and brave. I didn’t see those traits in myself until recently.
It can be done, my friends. Wherever you find yourself at this moment . . . if you aren’t happy or healthy or satisfied . . . things can change. If I can go from Life A to Life B (two completely different existences, I promise you), then you can, too. It wasn’t a quick accomplishment. It wasn’t seamless. But, by gosh I am doing it. The little flicker of light inside me that REFUSED to give in or give up – well, it got me through and brought me to the other side. It’s where I am feeling thankful, stronger, and full of hope for the future.
Just a year ago, I was a patient with a Psychiatrist. I took mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I read about my disorder and saw many of my symptoms as classic. Just a year ago, I cried in my king size bed, avoided people, and wished to die every day. Just a year ago, I hated everything I was, saw no redeeming value in living, and planned how to make my savings last so I could continue being disabled and disconnected. It’s all I had.
Note: Not everyone who is going through a difficult life-change necessarily has developed a permanent mental disorder. I was just grieving the loss of my life and staring in the face of a new one that I didn’t know how to live.
Change . . .
It’s evil ~ and it’s heavenly