I know a man who used to be caught in all-or-nothing thinking. Anything at all – a dinner, a gift – had to be “fantastic” or it was “wrecked.” “Okay” wasn’t good enough. “Fine” wasn’t good enough. “Nice” wasn’t good enough. “Good enough” wasn’t good enough. He heard them all as “wrecked.”
Fortunately, over the years, he learned to accept compliments that were lesser than “fantastic.” He could even understand “needs work” or “meh” without feeling that those meant “wrecked.”
There was I time when I thought my life was wrecked. Irretrievably, permanently wrecked. All I had to look forward to was someone recognizing my wretched wreckedness and having me committed. Fantastic was never even an option.
Later I learned that my life wasn’t wrecked, though it surely hit some rough patches and there were a few things that were wrecked along the way – friendships, my self-esteem. But gradually I learned that the problem was not wreckage, it was bipolar disorder.
And now my life is not wretched and wrecked. Bipolar disorder has backed off.
I don’t think I’ve been cured of bipolar disorder, because I don’t think that’s possible. I think that the most that you can say is that I’m in remission.
And that’s okay.
I’m content with the idea that I’ll have to take medications for the rest of my life. They’re what got me here and they’re what keep me here, in the land of Good Enough.
I don’t ever expect to be normal – whatever that means – but I do expect to remain reasonably functional. I have a good marriage. I can do paying work. I have a comfortable home. I’m stable most of the time. I go to a psychiatrist only for med checks.
I have just enough symptoms to remind me how I used to be (that is, dreadful, miserable, and sometimes numb). I still don’t like to go out of the house, but I can if I need to. I still have to lean on my husband for support. I still get free-floating anxiety at times. But those are symptoms I can live with.
Of course, the road to remission has been very (very) long. I’ve fought my way through meltdowns. I’ve had to learn coping skills and some degree of self-care. I’ve tried nearly every combination of medications on the market, except for the newest ones – I’m not switching from what works now in hopes of getting a little bit better. Because that might not happen.
And because I’m good enough.
I’m good enough to write blogs. I’m good enough to write a book (I wrote a book!). I’m good enough to have lots of friends, both online and off. I’m good enough to help other people who are going through the same things I did.
I’ll never be perfect, but let’s be honest, that was never a goal of mine or even a possibility, really.
But I feel I have beaten this bipolar disorder; it hasn’t beaten me.
And that’s good enough for me.