Author: Melissa Anderson
I’ve been stable for nearly a year. There was a time when I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to say that. Stability. And for a whole year! Wow! I can hardly believe it. It feels good, I must say.
It was just before Thanksgiving last year when I realized that for the first time in a very long time, I felt normal. Not up. Not down. Just normal. And it was amazing. I could take normal breaths and smile normal smiles. I didn’t feel like I was looking over my shoulder, waiting for something bad to happen. I was just enjoying each blessedly normal moment as it happened.
Now, understand that when I talk about stability, I’m not talking about the absence of bipolar symptoms. I wish that were the case, but it isn’t. No, what I’m talking about is more the lack of crises in my everyday life. I’m talking about the lack of absolute chaos that had previously befallen my life. For me, stability is about my overall well-being.
No longer am I constantly in fight-or-flight mode. No longer am I constantly enveloped in gut-wrenching depression. No longer do my moods swing from high to low at the drop of a hat. This kind of chaos doesn’t define my days any longer. And while this kind of chaos is thankfully a thing of the past, I do still experience depression and hypomania, just to a lesser degree.
Stability did not come easily. In fact, sometimes memories of the days of darkness and sickness still haunt me. They creep into my mind and threaten to take me back in time. And I wonder – am I the only one who feels this way? Are there others – others who have been to the places I’ve been but are now stable and healthy? Do they remember? Do their memories haunt them like mine do me? Do they get a sick feeling in their stomach when they think about it? Do they feel violated by the mere thought of them?
And even more, do they miss it? Do they miss the days when they could feel everything deep into their bones? If I’m honest, sometimes I do. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s just a part of me that I can’t explain. And I really do wonder, are there others out there like me? I feel like there have to be. I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
To be bipolar and to feel everything so deeply is a gift, in a way. It’s also a sacrifice to put it in a box and choose stability. Anyone who isn’t a member of this exclusive club would have a difficult time understanding that statement, but if you get it, you get it. If you, like me, have chosen stability, I salute you. It’s glorious in its own way, and it truly is the best option we have. We know what lies on the other side. Some good, some bad. It’s a difficult thing to give up. It’s a difficult thing to deny that part of ourselves. Still, though the darkness sometimes calls to me, I choose laughter and light.