When I confessed to my husband the other night that I’ve been dwelling on my past history of episodes, especially that which occurred over 2 years ago, he was surprised, but helped me stand back and look at the truth. Had anyone else been bringing it up? Had he thought any less of me after we went through it all? Was it a very long time, even though it felt (to me) like forever? No! Sadly, all I’ve been doing is conditioning myself to think through those scenarios, obsessing, feeling those feelings, living in the past.
Being hospitalized, feeling paranoid, immersing myself in the heights of euphoria, all those are very real and raw memories of bipolar, but that’s not how it is anymore. As much as I want to share the details of my “strange than fiction” story, I would be living in the past if that’s all I delivered. So, to be honest with myself and you, I am going to focus on the maintenance and healing I’ve been able to keep for the vast majority of the time.
Yes, I’m healed. With the help of taking medication daily, I’ve been able to come through the suicidal temptations, the illogical thoughts, the unfathomable pit of doubts. I no longer have secret knowledge of the CIA tapping my phone, bugging my house. And I may have embarrassed myself when letting that psychotic patient peck me on the lips, and imagining there was a chain gang in the basement of the hospital communicating through the ductwork, and falling to the floor in melodramatic tension to be noticed…
But that’s not the important part. As much as that is entertaining and fantastical, I want others to know the wholeness of the mind is possible. I made it to the other side! There is a world of sound mind, and goodness, and blessings I’ve reached, and only the beginning. Peace is available, rest is offered. The craziness of that jungle can cease.
Memories are going to stay with me, and that’s okay. Though, at the end of the day, they are no more than a sketch of the past, and can be used in two ways: either dictators or reminders. If I choose to be dictated to by my past (poor, negative, unbecoming) behaviors and experiences, I will inevitably relive those hurts and fears. Or, I can review them to teach myself what to do or what not to do in the future (i.e. learn karate moves to protect me from a stranger’s impending kiss).
My memories help me tell my story of how I reacted, who I was. Today, I’m not the same Katie I was while I was sick. In fact, it wasn’t me at all. But I’m going to choose to learn from and live anew. God granted me rest. He gave me peace. He is ultimately why I’ve come so far, and the One writing my story. So I’ll recall my past, and I’ll remember my mania, but from now on, it’s a drop in the ocean. The ripples are swallowed by waves of grace, and the memories sink to the bottom.