Just Lucky, I Guess

January 21, 2013

People from work or from my community who hear my story often ask me questions like, "How did you make it through?"

"How did you not fall apart?"  

"You seemed fine even though you were going through so much at home.  How did you not let it affect you?"

My response is usually something like, "I don't know.  Just lucky, I guess."  

But in all honesty, the fact that I was able to maintain my poise at work and continue volunteering with my younger son at our local community theater actually embarrasses me. 

About a year after my older son left, I talked to a psychiatrist (referred to me by my therapist).  Among other topics, this ability to keep going through anything came up because it concerned me.  I worried that I was flawed deeply. But this trait which one may call "resilience" is actually something he used to help diagnose my condition: Bipolar II.

Apparently, we Bipolar IIs are able to "keep going" through lots of emotional stress.  We can drive right through the rain, so to speak.  For me, it felt like if I let myself cry, I may never stop.  Having so much stress at home was enough.  I refused to let it interfere with my life outside of home.  I just wouldn't let it.

But yet, it did.

While my employer would never have suspected anything was wrong, I felt the stress.  The pain. It lay dormant underneath my skin.  I always knew it was there waiting for me. It was a conscious decision to not let it eat me alive.  I felt I had to continue going for my younger son's sake, if nothing else.  What I wanted to do was fold up into a ball and rock on the floor.  To go away to some scenic, peaceful therapy center somewhere.  To check out on some heavy meds.  To acknowledge the pain somehow.  

But I held it together through it all.

So when I finally let myself feel...it all came pouring out.

In fact, one of the first times I really let it all out was when I wrote my first blog entry just a few weeks ago.  I actually relived that horrible experience completely and let myself feel all of it.  I let myself acknowledge the pain.  And it hurt.  A lot.

But I'm healing.

My therapist and my psychiatrist are both very proud of my progress.  The "Sacred House" helps a great deal.  So does the fact that I'm seeking help with therapy and medication.  I try to maintain a regular sleep routine and I exercise often.  I'm finally taking care of myself and letting myself feel again.  I'm also very lucky to be in a loving relationship with a supportive man who doesn't judge me.  He accepts me, flaws and all. So, thankfully, I am healing...

But I often worry that another tragic experience would just tip me right over.  Set me off.  Knock me out for good. 
Then again, no, I don't think it would.  
I am resilient.  
And I'm just lucky, I guess.

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