Tonight I was talking to my mother, saying she and my father seemed to think I've had a really hard year, and what was up with that.
She helpfully reminded me that it's only been eigh months or so since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Eight months...it sounds so short when you put it like that. Eight months of trying this and that medication, dealing with this or that side effect. Eight months of blessed stable periods alternating with places no brain should ever have to go. In the past eight months (especially at the beginning), I have been to the depths of depression, soaring in the air of mania, and everywhere in between. These episodes form an emotional rollercoaster I cannot forget.
Yet I also had and have great reason to hope. Mood stabilizers have worked wonders, giving me back my life: granting me, for the first time, the potential to control my emotional reactions. (Developing the ability is another story entirely and one of my major tasks this summer, but the potential is there.)
Some things have changed forever. My noise thresholds are permanently lower; I'm glad I worked with Habitat for Humanity while I could still stand the sound of a hammer. I will forever be cautious in the summer sun to avoid mania, forever need eight hours of sleep a night, forever have to monitor myy fluid intake to prevent dehydration. (Thank you, Lithium.) But mine is a story of courage and rainbows. Mine is a story of hope.