A Forever Balancing Act

I’m going to share something that is so counterintuitive my credibility will probably be in question. I had a travel day for work today. It was only a little over an hour away I had to drive to my appointment. It was a beautiful crisp morning. By the time I had to get on the road, all the frost had disappeared in the glistening sun. My iPod was plugged in and I was ready. My impending appointment wasn’t stressful, so my anxiety was rather low.
I live in Northern California in what many people would probably define as a rural area. I was able to travel this distance without getting on the freeway. I took notice of the black, brown and Oreo cows standing on the hillside. I could see reflections in the standing pond water off to the side of the road. I felt the sunshine insulating my car window. Dare I say, I felt at peace.
I’ve been focusing on being grateful. Forging a connection with a higher power. Allowing myself to believe I belong in this world. Just about 4 weeks ago I didn’t believe this and landed in the psychiatric hospital. Just about 4 weeks ago I had a solid plan I was ready and prepared to carry out. But 4 long weeks later I’m back at work and enjoying this drive. Bipolar disorder has got nothin on me.
As I leisurely take in the view up ahead, I picture myself take my hands of the wheel and glide through the air. Arms out to the side like one might do on a bicycle. I think I want to feel this contentment forever. The only possible way that could happen is to veer into oblivion.
The urge to carry out this fantasy becomes overwhelming. My heart start racing. My thoughts start racing. My vision blurry. Panic attack. I pull over as soon as I can to gather myself and my breathing. I always always leave early. I’m sure you can understand why.
Soon, I turn on my signal and begin my road trip again. I practice what I will say when I arrive. I practice what they will say. I turn on some mellow music. Sink into my seat and remind myself I’m OK.
After my appointment I meet a co-worker for lunch. I do not mention the earlier incident. I prepare for my return drive home. I reach out to my higher power and mumble a few words into the car. Again some sort of comfort comes over me. I notice my surroundings. I take it slow and don’t feel rushed to get home. Its that feeling of peace surrounding me, enticing me, promising me what I perceive as freedom. If I died right now, I could actually say I was at peace. Seconds later I pulled in front of a semi truck barreling down the road. He blared his horn as i narrowly made it through the intersection. I didn’t panic. I didn’t seem to care.
Holding on to a positive feeling can be challenging in this world. For my bipolar brain it’s seemingly impossible. I shoot up, then careen down. With all that lies in between. This was all in the span of 6 hours.
How could someone who thinks they feel “at peace,” such a coveted feeling, put herself in harms way at the same time? I don’t really know. Its completely counterintuitive. I’ll tell ya its the truth. Its not hard to want to feel good. Content. At peace. But, with bipolar disorder, everything is a balancing act.

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