Releasing a Fantasy

I have a very vivid imagination. It has served me well through my life and given me lots of good insight into many varied circumstances. I prize it.

Sometimes I get carried away, however. That came to a head yesterday.

I’ve had a fantasy for about 4 years that I fed and nurtured. At times, it preoccupied me.

In therapy yesterday, I realized it’s too big and taking up too much of my dreams. I meditated when I got home and did a bit of a release of it. I had some reservations about the release.

In this morning’s meditation, I concentrated on accepting the reality of my life, which is sort of a release. It felt good.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fantasizing. I feel no shame. I’m grateful for the entertainment it gave me.

But it’s time to move on.

I’m moving on.

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There’s More To It

I am glad there’s a lot of attention being paid to suicide right now. It’s a topic I understand intimately.

Here’s what I know.

Getting to a place where suicide seems like a reasonable option is a complex process. It’s not simple like breathing in a virus and catching a cold. It takes time and a series of events that overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. The individual struggles through somehow. He/She manages to just make it from one day to the next.

Then one day, something happens that seems insurmountable to the individual. It just seems like too much. The pain is too great.

Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds the resources for coping with pain.

I did not write those words, but I understand them. In 2003, I was in great pain. Life hurt. Each day brought new pain. I struggled through, until an event added that extra pain that made the whole pile of pain too much to bear. I was in a black pit. The pit’s walls were made of slick mud. There was nothing to grasp to pull myself up and out. All was blackness. There was no light. I made a plan, and I was on the verge of carrying it out when the phone rang.

Miraculously, I answered the phone, and I sobbed to the person on the other end of the line what was going on. Like the majority of suicidal people, I did not want to die. I wanted help. I wanted the pain to end. My sobbing words to the other person opened the possibility of getting help. I called my sister who came and took me to the hospital. I got help there.

Slowly, over a period of years, I healed. That bears repeating: I healed. Today, I do not have suicidal thoughts. Today, I live in recovery from mental illness. I practice a regimen to maintain my stability. I take medicine, I talk to a therapist regularly, I exercise, I eat healthy food, and I try to get good sleep. It takes discipline. I am not perfect, but I’m damn good at making sure I do what’s necessary to stay stable.

I’ll continue to take the necessary steps to be well. I like being well. That’s a good indicator of recovery: I like being well.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, I want you to know that I understand.

Here are some resources for getting help with suicidal thoughts.

Here are more resources for mental illness.

I wish you well.

Walking Through It

Edit to add: We have talked. We have both acknowledged our mistakes, and we are moving forward. I am not blameless, and I took responsibility for my part.

***

I went away on a trip, and my boyfriend took care of some things at my house for me while I was gone. When I got home, I discovered he had not done a good job, and there are problems because of it. The damage done to some things at my home is not the issue. It’s the broken trust. I relied on him, and he let me down.

We have not had a chance to talk face to face about the issue, but we may be able to meet tonight.

The remarkable thing about this whole situation is that I feel okay. I have no idea what’s going to happen. In the past, not knowing would cause my anxiety to skyrocket.

At least for today, I’m okay not knowing. I’ve been using a lot of meditation. I’ve used anti-anxiety medicine twice in the last week, which is very little. My therapist is on vacation, so I have to wait to talk to him until next week. Instead, I’ve been chatting with a very good friend a lot, and he helps me. I’m using the tools to stay stable.

That’s a victory. Using tools to stay stable is a great triumph.

I live with a chronic mental illness, and I use tools to manage it. A number of years ago, it managed me. Now, it’s reversed.

I’m walking through the not knowing.

Plot Twist

I started writing this blog 8 years ago. I’ve been through a lot in that time.

I experienced dire pain that I thought would never end. I walked through it.

I lived with the dawning of hope, and I walked through the pain until I got past the dawn to the reality of the hope itself.

I found deep healing.

I am at a turning point that I could not imagine even a few short years ago. As I announced on March 12, 2018, I am dating a man. It has been very exciting. We have had two arguments. We talked each one through to resolution. I have forced myself to walk through the maelstrom of emotions all this new energy has brought up in me.

I’ve been going to my therapist weekly, but I’m back on a normal schedule of every other week. He’s kept me clear.

I do extra grounding visualizations in my morning meditations now. Staying rooted to the ground I walk on keeps me steady.

I’ve started exercising again, and it feels wonderful. I’m back to speed walking 2.5 miles every day. I want to be in top form because it means I’m closer to him.

And I’m at a turning point. It started when I realized I was nervous about the relationship. It has become important, and I don’t want to lose it. I wasn’t able to see him for 4 days, and it seemed like an eternity, and I ached. I think of him, and I get this feeling in my chest right around my heart.

I’m in love.

It’s the most incredible thing in the world. I want to share it, and I want to hide it. I want to tell everyone, and I want to whisper it to just a select few after they promise not to tell another soul. I want to cry. I want to run.

I’m exuberant.

I’m terrified.

Life has many questions, and none of the scare me at all.

Telling My Story

This afternoon, I get to go to the state psychiatric hospital and tell my story to a group of nurses. I’ve done this before, and I’m looking forward to it. The nurses there are always very receptive. One of my sisters is a psychiatric nurse, so I have a special love for them.

Each time I tell my story, I’m reminded where I’ve been and where I am now. It was a long road, but I’m glad it happened. Now, I get to share recovery.

I get to share what happened to me. AA taught me and mental health recovery teaches me that my story is the most valuable resource I have. Sharing my story helps others living with mental illness that recovery is possible.

There’s a whole class taught in our Certified Peer Specialist training about igniting the spark of hope. We do it by guiding a peer through their own realization of having a goal, and we use our stories as part of the guide.

The most exciting thing about it is that no goal is too small or too big. All goals have value. All of them.

I have a goal for today: to share my hope with the nurses.

More About Dating and Bipolar Disorder

As mentioned a month ago, I’m dating. I didn’t plan it, but I mentioned my diagnosis the first time we met. He heard me, but he didn’t say anything. I think he realizes it has an affect, because I have to be careful with how involved I allow myself to get. I have to be conscious of how much time I’m giving him and how much I’m giving my recovery by keeping the routine that my stability is based on.

(Here’s a well-read post about dating and bipolar I wrote a number of years ago.)

So that I think is the key for me as a person with bipolar disorder when I date. My first priority has to be maintaining my stability. Without it, I’m not a good partner.

My partner has a part to play, too. He gives me the space I need to follow my routine. Encouragement from him means a great deal. Words that tell me he knows I’m working on myself are like gold.

I have certain things that are vital to my recovery: meditation, medication, therapy, exercise, and sleep. He can help me most not by monitoring those activities but by praising me for doing them.

I am devoting more energy to those activities these days. I’m going to therapy weekly, because this relationship is new, and it’s bringing up a lot of stuff that needs to be dealt with. My therapist is a disinterested third party and gives me honest, impartial feedback.

I’m taking my medication as prescribed. I have a problem with my feet, so I’m not exercising. My sleep is not good, so I’m going to make an appointment with a specialist.

Meditation is the most important thing I do without a doubt. I can sit and breathe and release energy that feels like it’s weighing me down. I can clear out so much in a short session. It’s not hard or complex. A friend asked me how to do it yesterday. I explained all you have to do is create a happy place in your mind where you can go and walk around and feel stuff in your body and then release the bad stuff. It’s that simple. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Walk through a door to a place that you create that’s happy for you. In that place, pay attention to your body, and release anything that is uncomfortable. That’s it.

My partner can help me the most by being open and by talking a lot about how he feels about what I’m doing. It doesn’t take much. As long as I know the lines of communication are open, I can walk through almost anything. Once I feel like I’m being dictated to or preached to or not being heard, I have a very different reaction.

Dating works when both parties work on it. I do my part by maintaining my recovery first and being attentive to him second. He does his part in a very similar fashion. He cares for himself and is then attentive to me.