Better than the Best

It doesn’t take long for me to search my memory bank and remember myself pre-diagnosis of bipolar. There is a small window of time that I felt I had reached my best self. I had overcome bulimia and sought treatment for my alcoholism. In my new found sobriety my teeny tiny world began to open up. I was no longer consumed with secrets and lies. I could wake up in the morning. I could remember what I did and or said the night before. I dove into exercise and my job. I picked up my long lost tennis racket and began to play competitively. My marriage was no longer on the rocks. Life was a breeze. I had forgotten the depression that plagued me throughout my teenage years as I really didn’t have a name for it back then. I had forgotten the suicidal thoughts I experienced in college. I forgot about my now husband, then boyfriend, hospitalizing me within months of knowing me. I simply believed I was a new and different person. Probably. Most likely. Cured.
So, I either didn’t see or refused to see the depression coming for me within 3 years of my new found lust for life. I pushed that much harder at my job, in my obsession for tennis, and in my physical training. Meanwhile I had to pull over to the side of the road often to allow for panic, anxiety and all out sobbing. I hid from my husband and people who really knew me. I could fake it at work and around the court. Until I couldn’t.
I will never forget the collapse in my mind. A good friend started stalking me, in a good way, and I fessed up. Amongst other things, she told me to get some Vitamin B12. I didn’t know why at the time, but that snippet of advice was all I heard. Dutifully, I stopped at Walgreens to get my vitamins but somehow emerged w vodka as well. My drink of choice. I sat in my car and cried uncontrollably as I downed this liquid nightmare. In a moment of pure desperation I called my husband and told him where I was and I didn’t want to be doing what I was doing. He called my friend.
When I arrived home all I could do was cry. I was stunned. I couldn’t explain my behavior, my thinking, my pain. All I knew is I could not be a depressed alcoholic again. In another most desperate moment, I locked myself in the bathroom and nearly ended my life.
I don’t have to tell you what followed. Emergency room visit. Hospitalization. Leave of absence from work. I but a shell of my best self. I chased that best self for many years. Riddled in shame and sometimes disgust at myself because I couldn’t get there. Seemingly couldn’t get there.
I would say just in this last two weeks I had a breakthrough. Instead of chasing, i’m adapting. It’s okay I can no longer get up for 5:30am bootcamp. I can go at 5:30pm. It doesn’t make me less of a person. It’s okay I sometimes miss my hiking group because I can’t muster the energy, or my anxiety is high. I am trying. Sincerely trying.
My best self is ever changing, like the tides. Some days I am stronger than others. Some days I can dance and forget my “troubles.” And other days the best I got is getting from the bed to the couch. I no longer need to compare myself to yesterday. The current is going forward and I’m going with it. Best is relative. In fact, I think I’m going to practice being myself, whatever that means in the moment, and always strive for better, whatever that means in the moment.

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3 thoughts on “Better than the Best

  1. This is the best post I’ve read on just realizing that things don’t get easier. We get better. We grow and evolve and change. Some moments are better than others. And that’s okay. You make okay sound great. Thank you for sharing the best and worst of what you’ve been through.

    Liked by 1 person

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