In 20 days’ time it will be a year since my last hospitalization. Wow, I can’t believe it, it’s a new record for me. When I look at the year behind me and the years preceding it I realize that I had accepted that I will never get better in the years before my last stint in hospital. In those years I had accepted that I can’t handle pressure and that I am weak. Worst of all, I didn’t see happiness being an option for me ever again. This acceptance of my fate, worsened my fate. In the academic world it is an all-round agreed upon belief that the more episodes one has, the worse the bipolar gets and the less positive the prognosis in terms of recovery becomes. By accepting the impact that my bipolar had on my daily life, I set myself up for more episodes because I didn’t act proactively when the triggers and symptoms poked at me. I waited for them to freakin stab me and leave me spilling blood. Then I would collapse and follow the doctor into the hospital like a self-pitying sheep. First blood splotches on the walls. This repertoire played itself off at least once a year for 5 years. The walls started looking like a Jackson Pollock with only shades of red. During this time I put the weight of my recovery solely on getting on the right cocktail of meds. I left my precious God out of it for the most part. I had my moments of sunshine, the ‘mental vitamin D’ I got in those short-lived summers I treated like a gift voucher that has only so much cash on it, I knew the dark and fear would return.
Then there was the crash of March 2015. I’ve written about this turning point before. Refer to “the blessing of the unanswered prayer” for more detail on everything that happened in that time. The pain overtook my mind, I lost all hope and cut myself. More blood on the walls, by now it would have just been easier to tell visitors that the walls were meant to be red from the start…
My stay in hospital after that incident, gave me hope. I saw the sun through my window and although I could not bathe in it yet, I knew it was shining for me, waiting patiently. The red layers were peeled off slowly in the following months.
Then one day I noticed fresh splatters of blood on the walls. They warmed my heart, I didn’t know why, but they brought me relief. As the sun shined into my room onto the walls I saw that the blood was not the distinctive red I have become familiar with, but a red alive. It was Holy, it was spilled for me, not by me. I loved the Man who threw Himself so completely and selflessly onto the walls of my mind. So much so that the blood released from my wounds as they were being cleaned refreshed me. What was most precious about this was that every drop of blood I shed was captured by Him, not a drop was wasted. Not a single drop spattered onto the wall. My blood had purpose, because His blood flowed first.
The walls have started crumbling as well, more sunshine is streaming in. The rays dancing on my face. My bipolar has become a monster I can fight. It is still powerful, but most days my muscles match its push and pull. I believe in recovery now, I believe it is a journey that will continue till I am reunited with the Cleaner of my wounds. One year psych ward- free, yeah, it’s cool, but one year in the medical bay of my God is what I will truly celebrate.