It has been 5 and a half years since I was diagnosed with BD II, It has been a year since my last hospitalization. This is the longest break between hospital stays (happy dance) I am better, I am, I think, euthymic, which would be a first for me since I actually have rapid cycling BD. It feels awkward to be okay, I don’t know how to do “okay”. Can anyone relate?
Spoke to my therapist about how uncertain and uncomfortable I feel in this new space, how that I don’t trust the peace and that I am constantly dreading the next episode. I was even feeling like I am a fake, that I’m hiding my true feelings. I had to pay for the following explanation and advice but you can have it for free :) He said something along the lines of I am not used to being okay, it is new and scary for me, unfortunately being in pain and feeling bad was my normal, it had become my comfort zone. What I knew, understood and have been trained to handle. How upside down is that? I am more comfortable being “sad”and the lack of suffering made me itchy inside.
For some reason I had given up on being happy or just not in some weird mood but now it has become a reality and I need to learn to trust it. If I don’t accept normal as the new normal then I will eventually revert to what I am currently comfortable with. I don’t want that at all! So how do I make myself comfy in this new cool space?
When I start getting anxious about whether I can trust the quiet, I should counter it by being in the moment and just enjoying the peace. Sit down, realize I don’t feel bad, I feel okay (maybe even better than okay) and embrace it, make this new feeling feel welcome in my mind. This is an energy intensive exercise that will be very hard to do at first, but as happy moves from the front porch to the living room of my life it will become easier. Slowly the balance will tip and it will be okay to be okay, it won’t be scary or weird anymore and as time moves on this new space I’m in will expand and give way to more normal. The fear of it being fake and fleeting will fade, which in turn will just lead to this new state of being blossoming unimpeded. I will discover who I am and can be, facets of me that were buried under years of “mixed state-hypomania” will be unearthed. Once again it will be scary, but that is the nature of adventure, isn’t it? Yes, that is what is happening, normal life, which, to everyone else, is so boring, is for me uncharted territory, full of mystery and adventure. I should pack in my tent, flashlight and remember my camera!
I am ready to be okay. I am eager to make normal the new normal. Yes I know this new okay/normal is still different from the normal that most people feel, but I must make myself home in this new place, put up a picture or two and switch on the kettle. This adventure, this new home can be the much needed rest I have been dreaming about for years now, only if I accept it and let go of my fears.