This Bipolar Life: Slipping Away

I am so pissed off at bipolar disorder and its impact on my life.  Who I was and who I could have become had to take a back seat to my need to maintain sanity.  I understand that but it infuriates, devastates, and saddens me.

I have always been bright, aware, passionate, and for many years I was also what I would consider articulate and up-to-the-minute informed.  Then I had to start taking medication for bipolar disorder.  After that everything started to become increasingly foggy.  Memories began to fade.  Words began to slip away as I tried to participate in conversation.  I couldn’t recall facts learned just months before.  Stumbling to retrieve names became the norm.  My ability to remember things I’ve done is shot.  I recall memories made as ghosts of the past and, if I’m lucky, there’s a photo to help trigger them as that always helps.  Lists are now key for even the smallest tasks involved in running my home much less an office, yet I need to work to support my household.  I manage, but some days (many in fact) it’s only barely.

The losses most devastating to me personally has been twofold.

First and most important, my missing memories.  I don’t remember key things I’ve done in my life.  I can’t recall having my children.  I don’t remember going to Disneyland.  Only the pictures bring me back and even then only to the content of the photo, they don’t trigger further recollection.  Other times I’ll forget I left a rice cooker or a burner on only (and thankfully) to have it discovered by someone else.  I’ll fail to make the payment, or the phone call, or send the card.  Those things bother me.

Second and less important but still very hard for me, the loss of my ability to have an informed and critical discussion on world issues, something I adore doing and yet no longer can with any confidence.  I loved having informed discourse on the world and now I can barely muster a few facts and even those I have trouble being certain of.  I have to double-check everything before it comes out of my mouth.  Hell, I went to college specifically so I wouldn’t have to do that and yet most of what I learned there (all as far as I can tell) is lost to me to now.  The data passed along is as gone as yesterday’s minutes.  Past and irretrievable.

I recognize that my mental stability is the priority, especially as a mother, but with it has come a terrible loss.  My future as I had envisioned it.  I have lost the dream of who I would once become.  I have let go of the potential I once held.  Instead I try to dream new dreams that fit more realistically into what I can achieve while I grieve for what has slipped beyond my grasp.

Perhaps there will be another post where I talk all about what bipolar has brought positively into my life but so far I’ve yet to find anything that makes me go – yep, that’s it, that’s the good part!  So, with that said I hope you haven’t minded this trip down my muddled memory lane.

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