Two

It's been some time since I last blogged. The thing that I've discovered about life getting better is that it starts to get bigger. I am forced to prioritise and sometimes the things that I love, such as blogging, are pushed to the wayside. So the Year of Celebration has suffered. As I type these words I realise that shouldn't be the case. The things that I love should be the priority, because otherwise what am I living for?

Two years ago today I woke up and I was in deep emotional, physical and mental pain. I didn't know it then, but those feelings were great gifts, because they made me realise I didn't want to keep living the way I was. I knew I didn't want to die (after two failed suicide attempts apparently the universe didn't want me to either), but I had no idea how to keep on fighting the demons in my head. I wasn't clinically depressed, but I was deeply unhappy and I felt that sanity was out of reach for me. That day, December 11th 2012, I woke up and I got on a plane and I didn't take a sedative or have a drink. I didn't put anything in my body to change the way I felt, despite having immense anxiety, which always came the day after drinking. Who was I kidding? It was always there; the noise volume of the radio fluctuated, but the static hum of worry was always present.

For the previous four years not a day had gone by that I didn't either take a xanax, valium, some other sedative or a drink (or a combination of the above, which was becoming more and more frequent) but I couldn't see it as a problem. I had never thought it was that bad. That's the thing about denial: it's not about seeing what's in front of you and denying its existence, it's that you're convinced it's not even there. It's as though my whole life I had thought the sky was green and, suddenly, those tinted glasses were removed and its true colour of blue was revealed.

'Desiderata' by Max Ehrmann
It has been 730 days since my last drink or drug and, therefore, I am two years clean and sober today. That makes me a toddler. I have learned how to walk, but I'm still learning many other things and I have a lot of growing up to do. The poem posted, 'Desiderata' by Max Ehrmann, has been the source of sanity for me over these past two years. It is my version of a prayer:

"Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should... In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

I am striving. I am trying.  These past two years have not been easy. Earlier this year I checked myself into a psychiatric ward because I felt that maybe I just wasn't made for this world because I struggled so much to belong to it. It has taken time, but through all of that I have held onto the edge of life, safe in the knowledge that this too shall pass. Now I know I am "a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars." I have a right to be here. Of course, as most of you readers know by now, I am Bipolar and that requires its own level of vigilance; taking my medication, getting enough sleep, eating regularly etc. Sometimes it can all fall to pieces, but I know this much: if I don't have a drink today I can keep believing in the words of that poem. Today, I have a level of peace and serenity that I never thought possible. Today, I am more grateful than I could possibly express. Tomorrow, well I don't yet know because it doesn't yet exist and there are no guarantees in this life, but today is what I do have and I intend to make it matter.

Today, I am two.

  

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