I have a chronic illness. Mine happens to be bipolar. Regardless of the condition the emotional toll can be extraordinary on everyone involved and although there are “blessing” moments this a burden kind of day. Like my emotions are just a big huge pile of heavy blankets waiting to fall on the unlucky person who walks underneath and is expected to carry it all. It’s not at all how I want to be. Do you want to know some of how it feels for me? I’ll tell you the less fun parts later but first I want to share a bit of positive.

How I want to feel:

Playful in a way that lets me be free to have fun without worrying about the “next shoe”.

Content with the way my life is at every moment to remember living in the *now*.

Free to live in a way that honors my truth.

Joyful at the world around me when I see beauty around me.

Confident in my own ability to become a more positive person.

Creative in the kind of way where I might actually *come up* with my own ideas.

Loving towards those around me whenever I might be able to.

Hopeful about the world and my life path.

Inspired to learn and be curious, about myself and the world I live in.

Excited to begin new things and even better, to accomplish them.

These are the emotions I sincerely wish I had more often or even at all. Occasionally I get to feel them, fleeting as they visit for an unknown length of time before leaving my mind (and people or things around me) in the dust of “new damage” following yet another mood swing. I struggle with feeling positive, a lot. I keep trying to slog my way through the work of “getting there” wherever “there” is and I AM making progress, it’s just maddeningly slow. I’m hopeful that there is improvement following all my effort because this is how I usually feel and it’s definitely no fun for me or anyone nearby.

How I mostly feel:

Helpless to cure my condition. 

Frightened of what is to come and how many friends or family will leave because of me.

Inadequate as a woman, a mother, and a wife.

Worthless when it comes to contributing to my family and the larger world around me.

Exposed because of my openness regarding my condition – I’m open but it still worries me.

Betrayed by my brain chemistry.

Furious at the impact this condition has on so many areas of my life

Embarrassed that I even have a mental illness – imagine bringing that up in conversation.

Disappointed my degree that I fought so hard for is going unused

Ashamed I’m unable to contribute more to my home, family, life.

Powerless to change substantially within a short enough period of time to get better “enough”.

Fragile when discussing the damage I’ve caused and hearing reflection on those times.

Isolated from friends and family when I am struggling because I don’t want to be a burden, emotionally or otherwise.

Numb.

Those are just some of the feelings that I deal with and they push people away. They overwhelm me sometimes to the point I need more help than I’d like to ask for. They are paralyzing at times and then I am useless. These are the demons I fight daily. We all have them, I’m just more willing and able than some to share. Keep fighting folks. I’ve been told it’s worth it.

So, burden or blessing? I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder, as the phrase goes.

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