Then & Now

Over the weekend I started my new dose of Lamictal...another 50mgs to try and put the brakes on my latest (and longest) high. Last week I was reeling from it...dizzy from the frenzy.

This week I feel my mind turning around & going in the opposite direction...everything is slowing down.

My thoughts are still all over the place, but instead of shouting & screaming to be heard they mumble as they mill about...whispering their requests & anxieties from dark, shadowy corners they've been banished to.

Somewhere between the ups & downs of this disorder, there lies a middle ground called stability...a place where medication keeps everything from getting out of control. A place where the highs don't send me skyrocketing into the stratosphere and the lows don't entrench & isolate me in the darkness of depression.

I know recovery ( i.e. stability) is not a myth, some city of gold that's only been talked about but never actually seen or experienced. It's real. I've talked to people who live there, who have managed to build a healthy & stable life within the valleys of mental illness.

I hope I'm closer to residing there than I was a year ago. Last July I walked into the VA hospital crying and begging the social worker & intake psych to help me as Alex slept in my arms. Last July I wanted to die and knew I would if I didn't get help that day. I was willing to take anything, do anything, just to make the chaos stop for 10 seconds. That's all I wanted. A 10 second reprieve from a mind that was too scary and confusing. I just wanted to be able to breathe without feeling like I was suffocating. This July I no longer want to die and I can breathe at least 10 seconds longer, taking in bigger gulps of air & of life in the process. A year later I still have highs and lows but they cycle at a much slower pace than they used to. I no longer wonder how I'm going to feel from hour to hour. My focus is now on managing how I feel from day to day.

I know I still have a ways to go before I get there, to stability. But where I had no hope of it a year ago, I feel it now. I know it now. I can see it on the horizon, off in the distance, welcoming me like an old friend...waiting for me to come and make myself at home.

There are upcoming changes & transitions I'm worried about that may threaten my progress...and lots of good, exciting new things I'm looking forward to....so that's why I'm more concerned about this impending low than I'd like to admit. I hate putting pressure on myself but I can't help but feel as though everything over the next 4 weeks depends on how well I ride out this about face in mood.

I'm not really sure of where this post is going, and I feel like I've spewed enough disjointed thoughts so I'll end it here with this:

I painted today....something I wasn't doing a year ago. Crazy how much you change in a year, eh?

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