I ran into the following writing prompt: If I could change places with anyone, who would it be?
I’m still figuring out who I am now and have mixed feelings about being mentally ill. Many times a day I wish I wasn’t bipolar, and even imagine that I’m not. But then reality comes crashing down and I realize that I do indeed have a mental illness which helps explain the way my mind has worked for years. And it really is comforting to have an explanation for mood swings and energy bursts, to name a few. But I still don’t know all the ways my life has to change to manage mental illness now.
So do I want to change places with someone, or just wish to set aside the bipolar disorder? I had a pretty good life before I caved in on myself. Working in the career I trained for and making okay wages and an okay name for myself. Married to my husband for 13+ years. Slowly getting out of debt. Starting a new hobby (SCUBA).
And now? Now all of those are strained or broken or ended after I imploded back in September. I’m out on disability from my job with clear direction that I can’t go back to the same position. My husband and I are trying to figure out how get household tasks done and how to support our relationship through all the stress of this time, though we’re still together for 14+ years now. Debt is getting worse as we try to get things together to declare bankruptcy. And no SCUBA for me until I’m stable medically.
So do I want to change places with someone? I think I’d like to set aside the bipolar disorder and go back to my previous successful-appearing life. Yet that’s not going to happen. This is me now, and I’ll always be full of kinks and wobbles and cracks. Not knowing what health and recovery look like for me pushes me to wonder if I’ll consistently live with a mental illness that turns me on myself. I only know what it’s like to feel broken, and because I know that mental illness doesn’t disappear, I fear that the feeling of brokenness will only lessen a little, leaving behind kinks and cracks so I’ll never feel whole again.