I’ve been hit by another storm.
It started with bronchitis and a sinus infection. Still coughing and barely off the antibiotics, I got the stomach flu. Not just the stomach flu, a 6-day stomach flu that turned into a 12-day stomach flu because of my lithium levels.
Right about the time I could finally eat a normal meal, my thyroid decided to get hyper. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in my 20’s and I’ve never experienced hyperthyroidism.
I lost 20 pounds and started having psychotic episodes. Did I mention I also have bipolar type 1?
I had to stop taking 3 antidepressants cold turkey, 2 of which I’ve been taking for over 3 years, and started taking an antipsychotic medication.
The last time I took an antipsychotic I lost my ability to eat and sleep, I chewed the inside of my cheek bloody and I ended up on a locked-down psych ward, so I was a little nervous about hopping back on that bandwagon.
But I did it. My son went with my family up North for 2 weeks because I was unable to care for him. I even missed a week of work, (which never happens). The antipsychotic side effects have mostly been major weight gain and sucking on my tongue and roof of my mouth (but not eating my cheek – huzzah!).
These are all natural parts of a storm. I know this now, and I accept it.
I’ve been in this storm for 4 months. I could be in it another 4 months. Or longer. And I’m actually cool with it.
All it took was a shift from OMIGODWHYISTHISHAPPENINGTOME into acceptance.
A few months before this storm hit, I realized that my life operates in 2 stages: smooth sailing seas or waves-slamming-against-rock storms. This is how my life has been for 44 years and I will never find peace if I can’t accept that this is how my life is.
And I don’t have to waste my energy trying to find a reason anymore.
I used to feel that God* was punishing me when the storms wouldn’t let up become I believed the storm was happening for a reason. After barely surviving 4 brutal years of postpartum depression, I no longer believe that everything happens for a reason. But I can find meaning in it.
After the storm has calmed.
When I’m in the storm, my job is to weather it. To accept it, to be in it, not to run from it, but to know it will eventually pass. My job is not to analyze it or try to figure out the big picture meaning of every fucking raindrop.
I have no control over the timetable of a storm; last time I checked I’m not God. It’s not a personal attack. It’s just the weather.
And there is a beginning, middle and end to every storm.
*This is me using a universal term out of pure laziness. God to me is just something bigger the my finite self. Animal playing a drum solo, the waves of the ocean crashing ashore, magical belly button lint. Whatevs – just not me.