For a long time, I was never really sure who I was. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. But that is a just a description, and to a degree a role to be played in life. But exactly who I was, who I am, is a harder question to answer. I have bipolar disorder. It complicates things, life, me. It makes my journey through life much more difficult. It makes the lives of those closest to me harder too, because in loving me, they have to love all of me, warts and all… As a wife, I am at times almost comatose with sadness, despair and hopelessness. At other times I am overexcited, frantic, hysterical, agitated, angry. As a mother, I was and am supposed to be loving, safe, demonstrative, tender, a rock; and sometimes that is not what my children got. The fact they are almost grown doesn’t lessen my anxiety that I was not a good mother, that I scarred them in some way that has yet to manifest itself. As a daughter and sister, I hid the extent my illness because of my shame in being something other than ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’. As a friend, I was avoided, ignored, manipulated, dropped. But in the face of a manic rant, there is not many who would stand firm and fast and there are only so many times one can turn the other cheek. I am also very lucky to know some of the most loyal and trustworthy women on the planet and better still, to call them my friends.
I understand my illness and where it takes me; the depths of despair, the uncontrolled highs. I decided to start a blog for all the wrong reasons. I wanted people to read what I wrote. I didn’t want to be totally famous!!, but I did want to see how many would find what I had to say interesting. It wasn’t completely narcissistic, because I don’t think I am one, but it wasn’t completely unpretentious either. Lots of posts I kept to myself in draft form, because they were only for me. Others I put out there. I have chronicled my journey of the last few years, my ups and downs, the everest highs and the deepest lows. I realised that in writing my innermost pain, it helped me separate my illness from my personality. Aristotle said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; I am greater than my illness. For a long time I allowed myself to be ‘defined’ by my illness, to at times wallow in it and the misery and drama it brings. Other times I wore it like a badge of honor almost. To my shame I also used it as an excuse for bad behaviour, but I am human and I have my faults too. For a long time I also considered myself to be a completely unworthy individual – broken, damaged. But I really did very little to help myself. As a result of that, I am finding it very hard to let go of that picture of myself as ‘not quite good enough’, ‘not quite worthy’, broken. I started out wanting to write so that other people could read, I never dreamed I’d actually begin to find myself and heal in the process. I know that bipolar disorder cannot be healed, but I can rebuild what it has stolen from me; my confidence, my self belief, my inner strength. I can believe in myself again and in doing that, when next it comes time to ride the rollercoaster of this disorder, I might recover a little faster.
No-one can go through this life alone. No-one deserves this illness whether they be the sufferer or the long suffering spouse/partner/family. It affects us all deeply. But when you struggle with bipolar disorder it separates you from the ones you love the most at the times you need them the most. So this blog has become my haven. These words are from my heart, from my soul. I share them in the hope I can chronicle a journey that has taken the road less travelled; the bumpier road. I share them in the hope I can find myself and peace in the end.
I called this blog Placids’ Place. Simply put it means place of peace, tranquility, ‘even-tempered’. Welcome to my blog, my mind, my soul.