I look back 25 years and I was a pregnant teenager with some prospects and supportive parents. My parents enabled me to go to college while they took care of my son. As the first year passed we realized Adam was not developing as he should and after that first year he developed seizures. The diagnoses he received are far too lengthy and complex for me to relate them but I will say he was severely disabled throughout his life (19 years) both mentally and physically. There was a long period during which I could not face these things and I didn’t. Then I met Dean. We grew closer to my family when we began our relationship because everyone liked each other and Dean was good to us. Acceptance on my part happened regarding Adam’s disabilities and I began to deepen my bond with him. After a few years I took back guardianship of him from my parents, which had been switched when I was unable to care for his special needs. I began making the decisions about his care (and did until his death) and things were going somewhat smoothly except that I had been diagnosed with bipolar disease.
The symptoms associate with my bipolar disease (and it is a disease not a disorder) and ways they have manifested in the past are: persecuting thoughts, depression, psychosis-delusional thinking, paranoia, hallucinations, mania, and detachment from reality. Between the years 1992-1999, I had 3 major “breakdowns” which required hospitalization. I was in the hospital 6 times. Since 2000, I like to think I have been in recovery with a few “mini-freak-outs” which have been handled with my care team and my supportive family’s intervention. So, since 2000, I have been somewhat stable and high-functioning. I feel my functioning gets better as we go along. But the disease is always there and I must never forget that. The risk of spiraling is lower because I am adamant about taking my medication and caring for myself but this disease is dangerous and sneaky…so I take medications, see my doctors—and for anyone who is bipolar who doesn’t want to take medication because they don’t want to “lose their creativity.” I will tell you that I have never been more creative than when I am well and taking my meds. I have proof, having had or will have 32 poems published in literary journals since 2004, and of course with the fact I have not been hospitalized since the late 90s. I am not cured but I am in recovery, and writing has been a major part of that recovery—and my doctors, family and friends of course.
Writing, my creative life, specifically making poetry, has opened me to explore inner worlds, my own psyche, and to find my path out of extraordinary hardships (which I do believe were blessings too.) Also journal-writing has empowered me through this process too. But to be able to write a piece of art—one of the highest forms of human expression, has given me my soul and self worth back. To have the words read and appreciated by others gives me such joy. I am humbled and moved by the whole experience. Writing for life, reading poetry, creation and expression have kept me sane and deepened my knowing. Yes, “Writing For Life” is a good title for this (long) note because that is exactly what this vocation has done/is doing for me.
I am writing my life back to wholeness.