Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Being Bipolar Part VII–Road to Recovery(Wellness)

This part of my blog has been a long time coming. Probably because I have not been well. Now I have sorted my meds, I feel able to tackle the subject.

I added wellness to the heading because some people, including me, think that recovery implies that you are cured. That is not true in Bipolar Disorder and other life long mental illnesses. I think wellness is a much better goal.

What does wellness mean to me? I guess it means being able to carry on reasonably meaningful life despite having a mental illness. It is one thing to be able to do it. It is another thing to actually do meaningful things. I find myself able to do stuff most of the time. I have isolated myself so much that I don’t actually do it. Until I get over this inability to do things, I think my wellness has a good way to go. Staying home all the time is not most people’s idea of wellness. Feeling able is just the start.

I have lost the desire and maybe the ability to socialize. I would like to have good friends, the sort of people that you meet for coffee, go for a walk with, or maybe even play golf with. I feel like I am out of circulation, separate to the real world. I hear people talk about their lives and wonder why my life is no longer like that.

Wellness must come in various stages. Being happy with your meds regime and good coping skills are only the first step. I feel like I have achieved the first step and then become stuck, Where I should see a bright future, I just see a void. This makes me worry and threatens the wellbeing I have achieved. I have always had a lot of hope. This is threatened when I realize I am stuck.

I need to do things but I really have no idea what they are. I am not ready for senior clubs, playing bingo and dominoes. I don’t feel comfortable any more in resource cafes or drop-in centers. I am a baby boomer. Most of my fellow boomers are still working and have real lives. I can’t relate to most others of my age group. I don’t have much in common.

I guess my true wellness relies on me solving this problem. I need to build or rebuild some sort of life. “I used to have a life” doesn’t really help. I wrote about my story in an autobiography. I now need to write the next chapter, which seemed likely when I finished the book. I can’t have such a good life as before but I should be able to find something meaningful and satisfying.

Wellness is the ability to have a meaningful life without working. Retired people seem to manage it, but they usually have made good provisions for retirement. I call myself retired but that is a euphemism for losing the ability to get a job.