To start off, my latest post to bphope.com, called “When Is the Best Time to Tell People You Have Bipolar Disorder?“, was released on social media today. I was nearly two weeks late submitting this article, as I was so entrenched in the building of The JB Burrage Agency and my recovery from my episodes. At the time that I wrote it, I was worn out, but I wrote it because of the suggestion of someone because it is a question that people wonder. It’s not easy to come out and say, “Hey, y’all! I’m bipolar!”, and just go on by your day as if nothing happened. It’s something that needs to be addressed carefully, when you feel comfortable, and then being careful who you choose to disclose it to. Not everyone will be as supportive and understanding.
I want to take my time and be a little candid with you tonight (I started writing this at 9:21 PM here in Atlanta). 2018 is fast approaching and I’m going to be honest. I’m excited but I’m also nervous. I always kind of dread the new year, and it’s probably because of my fear of the unknown. I’m excited because of all the plans that I have for this year. But I dread the coming year because I just don’t like the unknown. It might sound silly to some because we don’t know what’s ahead in our lives, so how can you not like the unknown? Aside from the fact that I have control issues, I can’t truly answer that question.
The positive is my birthday is coming up very soon. But as I get older, aside from being thankful that I lived to see another birthday when so many others haven’t, I don’t get as excited about my birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I love my birthday because I get treated like royalty. It’s probably the only stress-free day I have in the entire year. But the days as I approach my birthdays now tend to be a little uneasy. It started when I turned 30; I was terrified of knowing that I would no longer be in my 20s. The weeks leading up to my 30th birthday might as well have been no different from having a mid-life crisis, except I wasn’t even at the mid-life stage. Also, I haven’t been out of the Army for a full year yet, and I was starting to feel a little like a failure for not being able to fulfill one of my life’s goals.
My birthday tends to be more significant to me than New Year’s, and now that I’m not too far away from my 40s, they are even more significant. True, people who are older than me are going to say that I shouldn’t feel that way because I’m still young. However, they don’t know what goes one in my mind and what I’m experiencing. Between January 1st and January 12th, I find myself thinking about all the things I could’ve done, should’ve done, would’ve done; how I can’t take them back, and how I’m starting to get to the point where my glory days are starting to be behind me. January 13th and I’m having the time of my life. January 14th…back to what I was feeling January 12th.
I talk about how I’m finally finding myself again with my craft. Writing is my joy and it helps me escape, so I’m looking forward to sharing it with the world again. But that still doesn’t take away from the fact that I feel that my glory days are behind me.
However, I still have positivity to live on. At least it’s not like how it was ten years ago. In 2008, I was in the middle of my major depression/mixed features period that lasted about four years (that four years also included the crazy hypomania of 2011). I probably spent about 75 to 80 percent of 2008 drunk as hell. It was the only way I could think of to manage the pain without throwing myself in front of a bus (suicide became a real possibility during those times). This might be a little TMI for some people and I’m pretty sure I will hear about it later. But this is the reality of my life, and now I’m in a new phase where I’m trying to embrace it and look at it as a new lease on life…but I can’t get the tick-tock of the clock out of my ear, so I enjoy it and take advantage of it without feeling the anxiety and pressure of the fact that my time to be great is running out; that I can’t even say that I’m in my 30s anymore is approaching, and life is running short.
To make matters worse, with all of this going on in my head, I have to live with the guilt that I’m feeling this way when so many people out there, some that I knew personally, never made it to the point that I’m at now. But here I am, dreading the approach of another year because I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish, because I made so many mistakes, because I failed at something; even if some people call it trivial.
Even with that guilt of feeling selfish, that doesn’t change the fact that the clock is ticking, and I don’t have much time to do what I need to do. They say time is not on our side. I believe that wholeheartedly.
But I can’t think about it; at least I try not to. It gives me headaches. My chest hurts from the anxiety. I lose focus. I become depressed.
With that being said, I’m signing off now. See you soon.