This is a little bit different than my usual posts but I wanted to share my experience and my thoughts. I know that living with bipolar disorder can be brutal, it can be hard to survive never mind thrive, but I want to let you know that you can get through it and you can reach your goals.
It can be so easy to lose hope when you live with a mental illness like bipolar. It can sap the joy from your life, make it hard or impossible to work, make maintaining relationships difficult and generally make it tough to function. For most of my life, I strived for my goals and kept taking one step forward and about ten steps back; I tried my best but didn’t have the treatment that I needed and I truly started to lose hope that I could find a life that would make me genuinely happy.
Then I got my diagnosis; I got my therapy, my medication and I learnt about my illness. I learnt how my brain worked, I figured out how to manage my symptoms and recognise triggers. Life still wasn’t easy, but it was so much better, and for the first time I could see that there was light ahead.
Over time I have managed to find a partner who is my soulmate (he was with me through the diagnostic process); I have a marriage that is strong and sturdy, and filled with joy! That is a goal that I have reached and it has surpassed my expectations without a doubt.
Other goals I set, I have reached, but in different ways. Sometimes with bipolar disorder things might take longer, the path to your goals might look different and the goals themselves may need to change slightly, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t get somewhere beautiful. Throughout the beginning of my twenties, I studied to work with animals; that was always my aim. I have found that going out to work doesn’t work for me, for my mental or physical health, so that goal didn’t come to pass. However instead, I achieved something just as wonderful in different ways. I now have my own mini zoo in my house, I’m surrounded by pets and they fill my life with such pure joy that sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am. Instead of going out to work, I work full time from home.
I have worked from home for 6 going on 7 years now; I started out doing admin and working my way up in the freelance writing world. That was always another passion of mine; I have always loved writing and research. Over time I tried to transition more into writing and built on my experience, learning new skills and developing along the way. As of last month, I can now say that I am officially a full-time freelance writer; a dream has come true for me.
So you see, even if it takes some time, even if it doesn’t look exactly the way you imagined it would, you can reach your goals, you can live a life full of joy despite your illness, and you never know, the goals you do meet might be even better than the ones you thought you wanted to achieve. Sometimes the unexpected turns in life can lead us to wonderful places.
If you’re out there right now and you feel hopeless and lost, I hear you and I know what you are going through truly. Please know that it can change, that things can improve and that you can find a way to live a life that will make you happy. Dreams can come true.