So there’s a reason that my business went under, my patterns were made free, and I no longer support them, and it has to do with the role that mental illness has come to play in my life. I’ve never been open about it; I can count on two hands with fingers left over the number of people who are not medical professionals who are aware of it. Lately, though, it’s struck me that maybe it’s far past time to open up a bit and share for both the benefit of those who might stumble across it and for the benefit of the me myself, as Whitman so aptly put it.
So Green Day lyrics aside, this is my situation. 9 years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder during a hospitalization for what turned out to be an acute manic episode. For a while I was able to keep things going as if nothing had changed, but my attempts at trucking along as though nothing had happened and things were not continuing to happen slowly fell apart over time. This heightened severity of an illness that–looking back–I had been living with as long as I can remember, did not fully recede with medication. There were good times between episodes sometimes, even good times long enough that I thought I might get fully back on my feet. I tried to keep everything going during these, and succeeded for a while. But with a dark inevitably, the bad times would return, and the balls I was juggling would fall out of the air.
Eventually the business and all of the things surrounding it had to be laid down. I just couldn’t tend to it properly while trying to keep my job and care for my family. I cried the day I let it go, but it turned out to be the best thing in the end. The illness wasn’t done with me–not by a long shot. It still isn’t.