I am here. I’ve made it!
Annually, this day feels bittersweet for me – my birthday. There’s a gladness and appreciation that I’ve made it this far, but usually a deep underlying sadness that I should need to feel so. It seems escaping death should not be such a high achievement for someone of my age – 27 now – and yet every year it’s probably one of my most significant accomplishments.
Today, my birthday in 2017, is the first birthday since I was fourteen that I truly feel happiness in its pure form. Since developing bipolar disorder in my early teens I’ve had serious depressions every year. It probably hasn’t helped that my illness has tended to follow a seasonal pattern so my birthday is always in the midst of a winter depression. Regardless, there is always a dark undertone to the celebrations and the smile I paste on my exterior. Sometimes it’s a hollow burrowing deep into my stomach and chest. Other times it’s fatigue at having fought for so long and looking ahead at all the years ahead of me seeing no way I can make it. It can feel like crawling in the dust over the finish line of a marathon, sheer exhaustion from the race preventing me from celebrating my victory fully. Another year crossed off. Is this enough? Can I finish now?
This year was starkly different. I was able to feel the genuine love in the gifts and well-wishes from my friends and family this time. I was warm. My heart was full. I learned the meaning of that phrase!
I have hope for the first time in years. Proper treatment that’s working and a new zest for life. There’s so much I want to do – I’m nowhere near finished yet! Yes, I’ve made it one more year, but this is the year I want to stop surviving and counting. I’ve started living!
I’m a far cry from where I was last year, depressed and emaciated because I felt too disgraced to eat. I’m both healthier and happier and I’m striving to keep it that way!
Have a lovely day all!