When I first had my real “breakdown,” I went “home” to live with my parents. I put that in quotes because it had never truly been my home. I hadn’t grown up there. I didn’t have memories there. Until more extended family moved to the area, it had only ever been a place a spent a summer or two during college vacation. But then I lost my mind a decade later and had to go and be under the care of someone and, lucky for me, I had the world’s best parents to step up to the plate.

When you are mentally ill, you need some care, and honestly, the more care the merrier. It may not be a barrel of rolls for the people caring for you, but I SWEAR it will help you bunches. Even if it is sitting in the silence of others – suddenly, you are no longer alone.  At some point in this journey called life, in this roller coaster called bipolar disorder, you will need others. Trust me.

I recently managed to get a house. I never thought that would be possible. Had you asked me even a year ago if this could be possible in my lifetime on my own, I would have told you no. It isn’t anything fancy. It isn’t anywhere fancy. But it is near my support network; the rest just a phone call or office visit away.

This is the first time I have truly lived alone since, I believe, 2011, a few years after that first “breakdown” (and even then it was for 5 months). That’s a bit of time.

It is strange. My days feel longer, but busier as I continue to nest. Again, I am very lucky to have a great family to help me with move and getting things done around the home. I could not do it without them.

I will warn you that it has been hard on my psyche. In addition to money matters, binding agreements, and my grandmother’s heart surgery, there is the simple stress of moving, of taking over a place that is to become your sole responsibility. I had a lot of worry, stress, irritability, hypomania, and frightening thoughts. I got back to my old psych doc and we added a new med and are doing some more blood testing to make sure everything is where it should be so we can make adjustments if we need to.

Living alone is a big step.. Be sure you are ready for it. If you aren’t, you aren’t. That is okay. If you feel more comfortable living with someone else – do that. But don’t be scared that you can’t do it, because you can. Being beautifully bipolar shouldn’t hold you back from living the life you want.