Author: Sophia Falco
When I was in the depths of depression I decided, I needed a higher power to lean on though I understood it was up to me to improve my mental health, and I am so grateful for my support system in my life. Furthermore, this year was a mark in time in my personal life. My birthday was in November, and this marked a decade of living with bipolar disorder, but by no means did I let this define me or my dreams. This decade was a mixture of light years, and dark years where time was a shape-shifter. Time was unbashful, where seconds minutes hours, and days flew by, but yet slowed to a crawl sometimes simultaneously. The universe did deliver the ocean as my higher power this past August when I felt I needed something to hold onto whereas I cannot hold onto water so that is seemingly a paradox. The essence of the ocean is far beyond the realm of sight, and a constant force always there when I need it, and is always in my heart. The ocean reminds me that when I feel I have lost power to my own mind, there is something out there greater than me that also has power. The waves form and hit their peak, but then they crash, however not all is lost because new waves are born. Waves of blue, and I wave to the blue, but I didn’t want to feel blue anymore. If blue didn’t mean blue anymore there would be no sorrow left to attach that connotation to the ocean, but to feel the lights brighter, there must be darkness. The ocean is a witness to humanity’s actions thus witnesses sorrow, but does not turn away and does not leave us behind.
As the New Year approaches in the United States, there is a lot of hype about New Year’s Resolutions, however I believe this is a great time to reflect on what transpired this year—the trials and tribulations, and successes no matter to what degree they are—because living with bipolar disorder at times can be daunting, and I know this first hand, but indeed there is hope for a life with stability. Sometimes it is necessary to take it minute by minute, and day by day because thinking of future can be overwhelming, and this was true to me when I was in a depressive episode this year (2020).
After hard work of doing a partial hospitalization program and then an intensive outpatient program, I learned the skills on how to cope with that intense depression, and I utilized those skills such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy which is most likely my favorite. This quote, though I am not a religious person, but instead a spiritual person, spoke to me. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”—Francis Assisi. In relationship to bipolar disorder, what this quote means to me is the “necessary” is safety and self-care, the “possible” is a stable mood, and the “impossible”—due to what stigma there is in society—is pursuing your dreams and turning them into goals, and being on the journey to achieve them. This fights the stigma that people with bipolar disorder cannot achieve great things which is definitely not true. I am now back to doing what is necessary, back to doing what is possible, and now doing the impossible. These three things (necessary, possible, impossible) don’t have to be separate since they can overlap. For example, I was very depressed my senior year at the university, but persevered to not only graduate this year, but graduate with the University honors of manga cum laude, and the highest honors in the Literature Department—this, in my perspective, was doing the “impossible”. I am now pursuing my dream of being a creative writing professor and applying to graduate school. I know I will be a strong canidate, especially with my chapbook: The Immortal Sunflower being a winner of The Raw Art Review chapbook contest (UnCollected Press, December 2019), and my poem “Farewell” being nominated for the Pushcart Prize in this early stage of my poetry journey. The time is now.