On Monday just gone, it was exactly a month since I received my letter giving me the details for my back to work program. I can say with confidence that not only has the last month seen real, measurable progress, it has also brought, for the first time I can remember in this whole debacle that has stretched on in total for a decade, genuine, tangible hope. The hope and belief is there that I can have a productive, successful future that isn’t dominated by mental illness*. It is realistic hope, realistic belief. Each day brings with it more clarity. Understanding the reasons behind the way I am has given me a map so that not only can I understand the past, but I can also set a course for the future. For the first time since bipolar entered my life I am working from a solid foundation of understanding and knowledge. With this clarity comes new, real strength.
I use words like real and realistic because those are the right descriptions now; my hope and belief is concrete and based on knowledge, not the faulty thinking of a mind blinking its way out of depression or in the midst of an episode of over-optimistic exuberance.
I am also aware and comfortable – or as comfortable as I can be – with the fact that it’s still early days and that things will come along that will test my resolve and faith (an interesting counselling session for example, which I’ll be discussing soon), but being prepared in advance is a huge relief.
*That is a concept I am still getting to grips with, as there is a certain truth to the fact that actually, the future will be dominated by having and dealing with bipolar, whilst the management of it will ripple through all facets of my life: social, personal, professional. In that regard, dominate is the right word, but also, there is room enough for success and happiness in each of those fields. So I suppose, in a way, if I put all my knowledge, plans and intentions into achieving the life I want, I will be dominating it