The time is now brothers and sisters, friends, fans and fellow travelers. There is no such thing as recovery with mental health issues, only daily vigilance. Unless your recovery model includes inevitable relapse, you are only fooling yourself. As Rose Kennedy said, “It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t agree. The wounds remain. Time~~~ the mind, protecting its sanity ~~~covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.”
Having a mental health issue like bipolar disorder or addiction means that you live with it every day. It never goes away like a cut or bruise. Those injuries heal. You can be cured of malaria. There are diseases that medication works to make you better. However, when it comes to depression or anxiety, as you are personally aware, because of your own experience, it will never go away completely. You have wake up each mourning and decide if it is going to be a survivable day. My suicidal ideation and tendency to abuse substances are daemons I have actually made friends with, or at least arrived at some sort of detente.
When I wake up, I accept that it may be a bad day. I accept that I may not be at my peak. In fact, I might be in a trough position of my cycling. It is the cycle model of recovery to which I subscribe. Relapse is inevitable.
How I choose to deal with it is my responsibility. I can give in to base impulses, I can get high on drugs or cut myself, or I can go paint or write. Attitude and hard work are key. I must stay humble and hustle hard. Surrounded by supportive people, you can survive anything, as I have. Dedicate yourself to a schedule. Take medications as prescribed by your physician. Exercise. Eat right. Rest. This is not rocket science.
Life is suffering, the First Noble Truth in the philosophy of Buddhism. Once you accept that fact, the rest is a piece of cake (although I prefer Key Lime pie!). You can bitch and moan about your life, or you can take active steps to improve it. It is a constant adjustment to change. Constant monitoring of ever-changing factors. To be truly happy is to accept the sadness that will forever be a part of your life. Anxiety will never go away, as there are stressors everywhere, every day. You will have to walk by a beer cave and decide if you are going to give in to your lizard brain impulses and buy a six-pack after five weeks, months, years of sobriety.
My life is not perfect. I fuck up all the time and make mistakes. I must learn from them, even if I make the same stupid decision every day for a week. On that eighth day, I might just realize a behavior change is necessary.
I have been through a lot of shit in my life. As they say, the first fifty years of childhood is the hardest. I look forward to each new day as a chance to improve my lot. Who can I help? What can I do better? When can I rejoice? Where can I be of use? Why am I here? How can I be nicer?
Dum spiro spero means “While I breathe, I hope” in Latin. It is my mantra. It is what I wish for you, my friend. Peace be with you always.
~~~Wm. Andrew Turman, May 1, 2016
I leave you with my favorite bible verse. This is a harbinger of what my next write will be about, the ugly side of bipolar disorder. It is a central issue in my life right now, and justice will prevail. I am comfortable with violence. We were a family of warriors. We still are. Just because I will not strike another person, does not mean that I cannot destroy them by word and deed. Until next time, ZDT is O-U-T… >drops mic<
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.