It’s 3am. I look down at my clock and I realize that it’s 9/11 and I am in tears. Today we remember those we lost, but also why it is so, so important to live, and of course love. I just finished watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts, and my heart just stopped. I had heard it being a rave for years but never bothered to watch it until now. I was floored.
Throughout all my life, I have wondered if I made the right decisions. Should I have married my first love? Should I have worked it out with the man I lived with for 5 years? Should I have went to that psychiatrist and taken the pills he gave me? Should I have left my job? Could I have been a better daughter, a better girlfriend? Could I have had a better life?
The answer is no. This is the moment I belong in. This moment right here. Typing at my desk at 3am on the morning in which so many lost their lives so many years ago. Being in NYC, I remember that faithful day. Where thousands of people went to their jobs, said goodbye to their families, their houses, their possessions, and never came back home. Did they do everything they sought out to do? Did you? Have you lived up to your full potential in this life? Do you kick yourself every day for a decision you have made, or something that you haven’t done today?
Do it. Get off your ass and do it.
I have a choice. I can stay on disability for another three years, or I can apply for this Civil Service job. I may not get it. I may fail the test. I may be on a waiting list and may never get the job. But I am going to try goddamn it. I am going to try because there is so much I have left to do with my life then just sit my ass on disability and feel sorry for myself. We, the ones who have bipolar and mental illness forget that because we have this disease, we can’t sit in a hole and let it consume us. There is a REASON we get reviewed every couple of years by the Disability Board. It’s not because they are just trying to take it away, it’s because they want us to get off the system and lead healthy, productive lives.
I have been trapped in this endless circle for years. I have been feeling sorry for myself, getting fat and lazy not owning up to some real hard truths. I have been hiding behind the bipolar illness as a barrier between me and the real world. I have been using bipolar as an excuse as to why I can’t do something, or be something better than I am. It’s bullshit. All of it is. I may suffer highs and lows. Fantastic highs where I spend too much money, have risky sex and make bad decisions. Crippling lows, where I want to crawl in a hole and die because I can’t fight what my chemical imbalance has done to me. But I can survive. If I can survive after living on the streets of NYC at age 15, I can survive anything. If I survived killing myself, I can survive anything. If I survived countless mental hospitals where they threatened to lock me up for the rest of my life and throw away the key, I can survive this.
I am not going to settle for a part-time job and a measly existence anymore. I am going to grab life by the balls, and live for myself and live every day as if it were my last. I am not going to hide anymore. I am going to write, paint, play music, and get a government job with a great pension so I can live out my retirement years with my best friend. I am going to live and secure my future and give myself the chance to enjoy my life for once.
No longer will I let pills and doctors dictate my life.
No longer will I live in a cage in which I live behind bars and let old age rob me of my usefulness and let all my dreams be taken from me.
I am 37 and my life is just beginning.
I may not have to travel around the world like Elizabeth Gilbert did to find herself.
All I need in my life is right here.
My words, my talent, my ambition, my drive, my determination.
I will not let a stigma of mental illness make me a statistic.
I will rise above it and become more successful than I have ever been in my life. If I climbed the corporate ladder once in my life with those same skills, I will be able to do it again.
Nothing will stand in my way.