By: Natalia Beiser
Dear Future Self,
Don’t give up on your dreams. This will be the most difficult time in your life. You have worked hard to be successful, but you feel cheated as you are locked in a psychiatric ward with bars on the windows and a stainless steel bathroom. But everything will work out.
You will have to go through a few doctors and side effects, but a medication cocktail will be found for you. The suicidal ideation will go away.
Money will be your friend and your enemy. You will get hypomanic or manic and lose track of how you spend money. You will need to find an accountability partner to assist you in not having budget downfalls. You will find that you will not be successful with a checking account or charge cards. You may fail, but life will go on.
College is not for everyone. Explore every arena; examine your interests. Going to college was so important to you nearly thirty years ago but you will wish that you would have become a professional baker instead of wasting all of that energy and money on college.
Be kind to your body. Work with licensed professionals to address anxiety, depression, and learn coping skills so that you do not use food as a calming mechanism. Find exercise that you enjoy to help your body and mind. Massage is not a luxury. Use it to get rid of soreness and to relieve anxiety.
In spite all of the bad experiences of bipolar disorder, find some way to give back to the world. Volunteer in capacities where you are self confident. If you cannot see these attributes in yourself, ask others around you to point out your talents. No amount of volunteerism is too small. Sometimes just listening or giving someone a ride is the pick me up that they need.
Do NOT quit taking your medicine. If you are feeling well, the medication is a part of the reason why. Do not risk becoming raving manic or experience bipolar depression because you feel that you “don’t need your medication” or that you will “feel good without it.”
But most importantly, don’t give up. You are valuable and have much to give. The emotional pain and devastation that you are feeling right now will pass.