I’ve been trying for some time to formulate some coherent thoughts to follow up on my A Better Place post from a while back.
I recently returned to NYC from a month in Berlin. I know a lot of people don’t like to travel, or do like to travel but that it makes them extremely anxious. And, some people I know who have bipolar disorder often have serious issues and psychotic episodes when they do travel, for whatever reason, anxiety, jet lag, forgetting to take their meds with them, etc. Well, I absolutely love to travel, especially with my girlfriend, but alone, too. I’ve gone to several different cities abroad by myself and had a great time. I do not have the vacation time or the money to log much travel as I want to in my lifetime!
A lot of people used to worry about me traveling, especially alone. Was I going to be okay? As if I weren’t an adult and able to make my own plans and decisions and take care of myself somewhere else just as good as I would at home. I don’t care for infantilizing those of us with mental illnesses.
So, my girl and I were in Berlin in May. We did a lot of stuff, met a lot of people. I even staged a reading of a small bit of my forthcoming book that was also translated into and read in German. I’m okay when I travel, more than okay, I’m in my element. Just like when I am writing.
So, I saw my therapist yesterday, first time in about two months. She reiterated how I really am the “poster child” for bipolar recovery. I’m not sure she used the word “recovery” but I am. I’m going to say I’ve recovered. Regardless of what others thinks about a lifetime of taking medication to control… whatever it controls or eases or takes the edge off or …. who cares?! I feel really good and am in an excellent place in my life. There is a way to get to a better place, to recover from bipolar disorder, maybe not for everyone, though I wish it were true for all my brothers and sisters who still suffer. But, recovery is true for me – not in some quack way that other authors writer about: taking vitamins, or running in the wild with your dogs, following some weird, strict and impossible diet, lowering to nothing the stress in your life (how can anyone do that anyhow?), or, the worst, just snapping out of it and getting a better attitude. Those kind of bullshit offerings make me angry.
So, yes, I believe I have recovered, but no, I’m not going to offer an crackpot solutions or theories to others. I’m not going to belittle those who have not or cannot recover or lay any sort of blame at their feet. I’m still in this thing, on meds for life and in therapy for now. But, I’m not even going to say, as I have in the past, I’m at a stable hypomanic level. I’m not anything or anyone but just me: energetic, happy and productive in the ways I need to be and it feels really good to be in this place, and also to write about it.
Thanks, as always, for your support!