A conscientious journey

A conscientious journey

I was walking through the bush this morning feeling amazing, thinking “I’m better now”. “I’m better”. What does that mean? It means that I am not depressed. That I am functioning well. That I am looking after myself. That I am eating well, not drinking alcohol and exercising pretty much daily. That I am pleasant, even fun, to be around. That I am adding value to my partner’s life. That I am not a burden to myself or others. That I am feeling good, great or amazing 80-90% of the time.

When I think about it, I ask myself if this is what a person without bipolar is like every day? Most likely more days than me, but no, not every day. I realise that great days do not come naturally to anyone. We have to make them. In which case, does this not make me all that different to those without bipolar? We both need to work on ourselves on the daily to make our days great. The fact that those of us with bipolar have to work harder, I like to think could even make us stronger.

I guess it’s like owning and driving a car. You fix it when it is broken. You put the right fuel in to get the most out of it. You regularly service it to keep it running at its best. You clean and polish it so it feels and looks good to use. It not only gets you from A to B, but also to many new places. Hey, we can even trade up to a better model! I’m definitely driving my better model now.

I admit that I feel stigmatised by my bipolar. I guess I am ashamed of it. I don’t tell people about it, which does not help the general stigmatism towards mental health as a whole, I know. But my little realisations like today do help me feel better about myself and my bipolar. As much as I’d like to tell myself now that I am cured, I feel I still need to be aware that the bottom can start to fall out at any time and I need to not only do what I can to avoid it but also be prepared for it. Whether that is pre-empting a downwards spiral or not, I don’t know.

What is important is that life is a conscientious journey for everyone and today I am doing good at it. The challenge I set myself now is to remember this when I am doing not so good at it.

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