Growing up. There is a point in your life where you realize that something big is about to happen. You may have come to a crossroads, things are changing, and there are some big decisions to be made. I am at that stage right now.
About two weeks ago, I left the Quiet Man behind. I had come to a point where I needed guidance and I needed an answer. So I prayed. I even called a psychic. Something out in the universe was trying to tell me something. This is the time. This is the time where the big change I have been gearing myself up for all these years.
I have spent years searching for the love of my life. I have never been satisfied in a career. I am lazy, unmotivated and just beaten down by being bipolar. The mood swings on the pendulum, in and out of different stages of mania and depression cripple me, and I used to counterbalance all of it with large consumptions of alcohol. I spent almost all my time online and getting into dead-end relationships with ghosters and was just headed in a bad direction.
I am approaching 40 in a few years. My parents are getting older. My father only has a few years left and with my mother becoming ill, I am afraid of losing her too. I depend heavily on my parents, not for money or guidance, just for a roof over my head. But as things are changing, and the world is changing, I think I need to finally tell myself that it is time. It is time I get off of disability.
Being bipolar has been the hardest thing I ever had to deal with in my life. Years of being undiagnosed and unmedicated led to drinking binges, bad decisions and a poor quality of life. I was suffering deeply and hurting myself and those around me. When the gauntlet came down when I was 27, and I was finally grounded and forced to realize that I needed the medication to survive, my body and spirit fought me tooth and nail. I spent several years trying so hard to get around my illness. I tried going to school, I tried part-time jobs and I tried finding true love. I failed at all of that and I was conquered by myself and by my fear.
It’s been ten years since I moved out to Long Island with my parents because I had no choice. I totaled my car and had to spend my disability money to get a new one. I was awarded the disability easily back then because I was hospitalized so many times. And truth be told, it was MUCH different ten years ago. Nowadays it is almost impossible to get on disability and there are literally thousands of people who are suffering trying to get it through the court system, all while trying to make ends meet and deal with their illness. I am thankful, grateful to God, that I was given the disability and used it wisely to figure out how to battle my bipolar.
I managed to stay out of the hospital for a long time. But I was always symptomatic. I couldn’t hold a job, I couldn’t hold a man, and I was always searching. I did a number on myself for years and up until two weeks ago, I was completely lost. Then one night, I went out into the rainstorm, lit up a cigarette, and spoke to God for the first time in what felt like an eternity. I kept telling myself that my bipolar mind was playing tricks on me, that it was just my voice in my head, but I think He heard me. He was always there listening, but throughout my whole life of mania, I got my bipolar voice confused with God’s.
The time is now. I got a letter in the mail today that my Civil Service exam is on the 18th. I am terrified. What if I do well? What if I get hired? There is only one answer to that: I will have to give up my disability. I couldn’t be more petrified. I wake up in a Seroquel hangover every morning and it is impossible for me to get to sleep with my bipolar mind even when I take the pills. How will I be able to function in a 9 to 5 job? What if I fail? What if I become totally miserable and want to kill myself? What if bipolar comes in full force and attacks me while I am on the job? I can’t deny the fear. But I won’t let my life flame burn out. I am 37 years old, 2017 is about to come to a close and I am not getting any younger. If I get an opportunity for a government job I HAVE to take it. I will have amazing benefits and they cannot discriminate against me for having a disability like they do in the private sector. I must take the chance. I must take the risk. I must be brave.
There is a new chapter on the horizon. The Captain came into my life and showed me a fairytale love to the point where I no longer have the need to search, and no longer feel an emptiness in my restless heart. I have an opportunity to improve the quality of my life and make my parents proud. I need to be able to stand on my own two feet. My parents won’t be around forever, and I cannot let this illness conquer me to the point where I will be on disability for the rest of my life. I am too young for that. I can do this. I am strong. I can make it. The Seroquel is doing what the Haldol didn’t. It is bringing me balance. I spoke to my psychiatrist and told him that I feared that the Seroquel was cutting me off from connecting with God and my emotions. He simply said that all it was doing was cutting me off from the mania that all bipolar people love. That’s why people with bipolar don’t take their meds. They want to ride that high that is so unbelievable, so amazing, so mindblwoing, you actually feel like you are a God.
I am balanced now. The mania is finally taken a step back and I think I can do this. All that is really left is trying to get myself to sleep and waking up without feeling like the room is spinning. I will need a routine where I get up early and spend at least an hour in bed waking up and letting the effects of the medicine dissipate. It may be a burden, but I think the rewards of having a secure job and peace of mind may be worth it.
It’s time to grow up.
It’s time to let the flame of my life burn.
I will not let it go out into the darkness.
I will not grow old being on disability because I was too afraid to take a risk.
I am strong.
I am bipolar.