So what does the term “in recovery” really mean? My doctor refers to my progression this way. I have no idea what it may mean to others but for me…I win more battles than I lose. People often have the misconception that it means my bipolar disorder is gone and I am “all better.” Sorry guys there is no such thing. Like Cystic Fibrosis or MS it is an illness you have for life. This is the very thing we are fighting for. Physical disabilities are recognized when they are a life time illness but we don’t receive the same attitude. Ours is something that will pass.
I sure as hell did not get here overnight! Others think that since we take medication that should solve the problem. Medication does not fix everything. Don’t get me wrong it sure as heck helps. But if that is all we rely on we are still going to fight major battles every day. My daily battles were debilitating at one time. I really should not classify it as a battle because I had no strength to even fight. Most days the best I could do was survive.
I sincerely believe that information is the greatest weapon we have against mental illness. When we understand what mess goes on in our minds. When we read about how others cope. When we understand the workings of our illness. This at least gives us something to use in our fight. For years I knew nothing about my illness. I did not understand why I did the things I did. And I definitely was not aware of dangers that could result from my actions.
I understand my illness now. I understand what it means to live with bipolar disorder and general anxiety disorder. It gives me a better idea of what to expect from me. There are some things that I can give you a written guarantee on how I am going to react. The difference is I realized that my actions were “normal” for someone with my illness. It gave me some relief from just thinking I was plain crazy. Know your illness. I read anything and everything I could and I have such a better insight into my workings.
Also when you understand yourself you can prepare. You learn what triggers mean and what they happen to be for you. You know if you suffer from social anxiety and have to go to a party…you need a plan…especially a well thought out plan of escape if needed. I get this twinge in the pit of my stomach and I know anxiety is not far away. I know my symptoms. I can take a time out before I end up in a crisis.
The more you know, the more you realize you are not alone. There are so many things we share. Each of us is different in how our disorder functions but the over all symptoms are very similar. There is really a peace that comes from getting some answers to why we do the things we do. There are also those classified as “high functioning” but that is different than in recovery because they just really suffer in silence. My husband will tell you there is nothing silent about my suffering!
Learn all you can. There are others who have reached a point in their lives like me that can actually find joy in their lives. Read how others cope and tricks they have learned to function. I will cover different ones I use in my blogs. But do not expect that when I write I am always going to tell you how great I am doing! I still hit the bottom and I still screw up on a regular basis and my illness can still get the better of me. But sometimes I win! And my bipolar disorder has to take a back seat cause I have a life to live.