Some days I get the sweet and refreshing taste of what life used to be like and what I hope it will be like again soon. Today was one of those days.
Although I didn't feel very well emotionally, my spirits were high and hopeful and cheerful. I had a great desire to serve others, to reach out, to smile, and to leave a good mark on this world. I felt so full of faith and optimism, almost as if everything was back to normal, and I was my real self again.
Over the last few months, I have often felt the painful realization that I am not who I once was. When I meet new people, I feel this constant desire to explain who I really am, that this isn't me and that the real me is simply buried under the pain of bipolar disorder. When I interact with people who I've known for a long time, I find myself apologizing for not being the same as I used to be. When I go places where I don't know anyone, I want to stand up and tell everyone that this isn't me, because I don't want them to assume that the darkness surrounding me is normal for who I am. And don't even get me started on the absolute panic I feel about moving somewhere new and meeting all new people, none of which know that who I am now is not the same as who I used to be.
I've spent hours crying over this new life that I am living, one that I didn't choose and one that is so different from the life I lived before. I have spent more time than I can count worrying that people will judge me harshly for not being able to do everything that I could do before.
But today my perspective changed. No, I'm not who I once was. In fact, I often feel like I am beaten down and covered with the wounds, weariness, and scars of this fight. But today I'm taking a step forward in faith.
I've decided to love this new me. I may be different now, but I can choose to accept the change and to let go of the heavy burden that who I am now is worse than who I was before. In fact, I have chosen to recognize that this new me is beautiful with and because of all the scars of these last few months.
I've decided to recognize and love that this new me is full of compassion and awareness of others, overwhelmingly thankful for days of light, and deeply committed to helping others through their darkness, all things which would not have been a part of who I am becoming without the pain of bipolar disorder.
I love who I am on the good days and cherish these days like never before, but I am making a greater effort to love who I am on the days of darkness, sorrow, pain, and fear. Because it's the scars that are allowing me to become a more beautiful me.