I am finally emerging from a very dark spell of mental illness and it’s a relief to return to relative equilibrium. I can see my life with some clarity; it’s by no means perfect and I still have my fair share of shit to deal with, but I’m well enough to recognise the good in my world. The inability to acknowledge positivity is one of the most heartbreaking features of depression. When I’m unwell I still know that I am very lucky to have a loving partner, a delightful little boy, a close family and great friends. However, it becomes impossible to distinguish the good from the bad when I’m stranded in a fog of hopelessness. Coming out the other side of a particularly long and nasty episode has made me appreciate the good stuff more acutely. I still have to be careful, my mental health is delicate and it’s easy to slip backwards. Bipolar disorder does not go away and it needs to be cared for, like any other chronic illness. I’ll always be in recovery, never fully recovered. I have accepted this fact and I am not ashamed, which makes managing my bipolar much easier.
I regularly have my photo taken for this blog and I’ve noticed that when I’m unwell, my face changes. My smile looks forced and my eyes have a deadened, glassy quality. I doubt anyone would notice unless I pointed it out, but to me the difference is striking. When these photos were taken I felt like myself; still a bit vulnerable but grateful to be alive and excited to stay on this planet for as much time as I am given.
If you’re going through something hard and struggling to see an end to your pain, hold on a little longer. I know how hard it is – I really do – but please stick with it. It may not get better tomorrow, next month or even next year. But it will get better, you can rest assured that things will improve sooner or later. Everything changes, it’s one of the few things in life that can be counted on.