“Lean into the sharp points and fully experience them. The essence of bravery is being without self-deception. Wisdom is inherent in (understanding) emotions.”

13 Dec

Prior to beginning to recover from bipolar, I had this image of people who weren’t off their rockers. I had this idea that you were all sweetness and light, that your days were centered and peaceful, quiet, without the upheaval of moods and fair weather brains.

How wrong I was.

You all have bad days too, don’t you? Cranky days, mad days, sad days. You have these, but without the depths that accompany mine when I’m off meds. Last night, I was upset about something, but stopped to note that while I was upset, I wasn’t depressed. I was just, well, upset, like many of you can be sometimes.

Being upset, and not feeling it to my core, is a new thing. I’m used to emotion being accompanied with self loathing, flaring rage, suicidal thoughts. I’m used to being able to wrap myself in my cloak of “oh well, if it gets REALLY bad, I’ll just kill myself.” Now-I gots nothin. I’m alone and barren, stripped of my armour. Sometimes I miss it, despite it being so heavy I could barely move.

It’s such a novel thing, to feel how everyone else feels, to be happy just because I’m happy, without question my motives or beating myself up for daring to be happy. I’ve felt like this for so long, even back to childhood, that this is refreshing, this newness, this clean air that surrounds me.

Taking Lithium, one of the things I was so scared of, is turning out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. (Discounting the sudden bloated stomach of course). But this newness is scary. It’s a large beast that I’m frightened to go near some days, because the simplicity of the emotion, the crystalline clarity of the sadness, the overwhelmingness of irritation with other people-it’s a lot after the complexity I was conditioned to accept.

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9 Responses to ““Lean into the sharp points and fully experience them. The essence of bravery is being without self-deception. Wisdom is inherent in (understanding) emotions.””

  1. charlotteotter December 13, 2007 at 12:20 pm #

    Yes, you’re right, there are bad days, and even bad weeks (I’ve got one right now).

    How beautifully you express it though, and with the clarity that you mention.

  2. bine December 13, 2007 at 12:31 pm #

    that’s something that i found very understandable that gabriel writes about too – the frightening newness of “regular” emotions. of course everyone of us non-bipolars has their ups and downs, happiness, sadness, crankiness, even depression. sometimes one of these feelings may even get a little out of control, and that may be mildly frightening. but it’s what we are used to. we haven’t known anything else since childhood.
    i hope you will be able to find a little peace in this, find your way around in this newness, without having to feel that it will betray you eventually.

  3. Netter December 13, 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    Not being bi-polar, I could always trust my happiness. But, I know when I’m sliding to depression, because I just can’t re-orient my thoughts and mood. It’s always out of proportion.

  4. Candy December 13, 2007 at 1:49 pm #

    I can imagine that it must be frightening, to try to accept the way you feel without being able to use being bipolar as the reason for feeling that way. And I think that’s coming off not the way I intend – I’m not saying it’s a crutch.

    I can only use my self as an example. Before I had most of my colon removed, if I had intestinal pain I could blame it on my medical problem. Now, if I feel it, I have to find something else to excuse it, because it certainly isn’t my colon acting up, and that is scary sometimes.

    Yeah, I made a poor example of that, but maybe you can catch my drift.

  5. Hannah December 13, 2007 at 2:43 pm #

    I never thought of recovery this way. What a unique insight. I wonder if this is at the root of why so many depressive people stop taking their meds just as they are starting to equalize?

  6. Amie December 13, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    It really sounds like this lithium is working for you and thats so great. I can totally understand what you mean when you talk about the extreme depths that usually accompany your emotions and I understand how overwhelming it can be. It seems as though you are a lot clearer on things now. I’m sure this newness will become easier as time goes on 🙂 x

  7. Mrs. Chicken December 13, 2007 at 7:39 pm #

    I can only imagine what it is like to experience emotion in a new way. Must be like getting a new map of your own heart. Hope that your transition is an easy one.

  8. Marcy December 13, 2007 at 10:11 pm #

    It is amazing to be able to be sad or upset or whatever and not be completely thrown over by it. Very happy for you.

  9. bromac December 14, 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    Ohhh, I so feel ya. It’s wierd, isn’t it? Almost like you mourn the part of you that is gone. Mourning in silent, though, b/c it feels so damn good to not feel so damn much. I’m glad for you, very glad.

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