Sometimes you find yourself at a point in your life where several roads are open to you – some you have found and others that are presented or removed from you. I’m standing there at the moment looking down each road and wondering which direction would be my best option. There are a couple of roads that others hold the key to and I need to wait to see if they will become viable routes or if they will remain no entry for me.
Current head situation is not helping as the depressive state I’m in just now doesn’t make it clear what lies down each track. Being Bi-polar masks the signs as you are reading them with a negative slant – what may seem like a common sense option is often obscured by your mood and chemicals. People struggle to understand how the glaringly obvious is so difficult to pick out but in either extreme of the illness ideas, reality and choices are not straight forward.
You look at life differently – and often you don’t know exactly how much you can trust your own judgement. If in a low period the negativity can hide the opportunities laid out before you, either that or your self-esteem is so non-existent you rule out things that should still be on the table. In a high period you over-estimate your abilities or your mind wanders off in its own direction leaving things behind that should also b on the table. Finally there’s the neutral position. Why is this an issue? Unfortunately it’s difficult to know if coming off an extreme of depression or mania whether you are levelling off or just heading into the polar opposite position. So you can see that our minds do not help us here.
Can you imagine not being able to fully trust yourself? That removal from reality where you are doubting judgements and others doubt you too. Just because of a label and diagnosis suddenly your actions and choices are poured over by others while you are also questioning yourself. To have doubt cast on your ability when you are using all you have in you to sort things out yourself. It always reminds me of the cartoons with the angel and devil on each shoulder – except with me it’s just two more versions of me arguing with me and each other over the right decision.
That’s why those who live with bi-polar disorder need sounding boards and those close to them to point out the realities to them at each step of the way. That’s why for me, my relationship with Jill is so important beyond the usual love that marriage is about. As long as I open up and speak about what I’m thinking – regardless how daft or disjointed it is – she can help me to map out my next steps. You really do need someone who you trust completely if you live with this illness. I really do wonder how single or isolated bi-polar sufferers survive.
So this crossroads that I stand at has several options and directions, and down each road more junctions will appear presenting opportunities and considerations, each time you have to consider them before choosing. For most people they can at least make a measured decision – I and those with me in this diagnosis have to first ensure they are clear minded before even considering stepping off in any one direction.