I was planning to get a Phd
I had all of these plans and goals and ideas
I’m not planning to anymore.
Because of Bipolar
and some not because of Bipolar
and yet even the reasons that seem to me to not be Bipolar
have been made by Bipolar
I guess it is all because of Bipolar
there is an example of how Bipolar affects everything….
not just with its symptoms and episodes
but also with what we learn through it…
Because the truth is
I don’t want one anymore
I don’t care about it anymore.
So you see…
I know how hard it would be for me to pull off with the Bipolar
living with Bipolar
has shaped my values and feelings about
and my priorities.
It seems to happen often…..
an illness or health crisis takes a person
all the way down
ushers them all the way to the gates…
until they see and contemplate their own
maybe a new kidney
the triple by pass
or the Xanax Lithium Abilify combo…
just the something else inside
New lease on life
New appreciation for life
what once mattered…
doesn’t matter anymore
what once didn’t seem to matter…
Matters so very much.
And sometimes when a person lives through immense suffering…
their experience of the mundane…the daily…the small…the routine….
excuse the huge cliche but
the simple things
the little things
become embedded with worth.
Because when you have lived with pain…
and when you know that the pain will be back…
Then every day…
And getting to live in those moments…
and getting to have as many as possible
When you’ve woken up so many mornings in swirling anxiety
when you’ve hated your life
when you’ve hated yourself
when you’ve lost
everything you were and are and had…
and you get it back…
you want it so much more.
Life is different after that
I am different because of that.
How can you not be different after that?
And after you’ve had those times and days and moments…
making a cup of tea without effort…
looking at the sky and actually
listening to music
having someone tell you that they love you
Just being able to sit at your kitchen table
your thoughts move forward into the future
whether five minutes from now
or five years
and you DON’T feel
and a suffocating
dead numb pain
an apathetic torment
dare I say…happy.
and you can just think to yourself
what should I make for dinner?
and the only thoughts and feelings that come are about food…and what is in the fridge….and what would you like……
NOT a paralyzing swirl of deadly sludge.
I fucking love that.
If I am totally honest…
many of my reasons for wanting to get a Phd
were completely ego based
they came from the desire
to be validated in that way by the world
I wanted to prove something..
I don’t know
To win something so everyone could see how awesome I am?
THAT means Nothing to me anymore…
I left those flimsy desires on the bathroom tiles along with tears.
THEY were eaten by the pain that has permeated my very being…
And I now have
Bipolar is NOT who I am
Bipolar has SHOWN ME
Bipolar has shown me
how strong I
Bipolar has shown me
And in this way
what Bipolar has taken from me…
is nothing compared to the
I have wrested from its grasp.
And you know what?
most of the rest of the reasoning I had for wanting a Phd
and you obviously don’t need to go to school
to learn how to
So who gives a shit about a Phd
I can’t even find traces of those desires in me.
I guess you could say I got my “Doctorate” degree from Bipolar university…
(although I am obviously “continuing my education”)
I got my degree in
fighting for my life
And I am more proud of that continual work and accomplishment
than I ever would have been
a Bipolar life
is not only a life…
It is a life
Claya Caper is the voice behind the popular blog, Bipolar First Bipolar Together. Her writing offers a fresh, raw, honest perspective on Bipolar disorder. What she calls Real Bipolar. Claya is dedicated to empowering the Bipolar community as well as others who live with similar conditions (She doesn’t like the word mentally ill!). You can find Claya at her blog https://bipolarfirst.wordpress.com and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BipolarFirst. Follow the Butterfly!