It has been 4 months since my first cycle of bipolar disorder. The fact that I've made it this far through 20 cycles is a complete miracle, especially remembering that, at one point, 6 more weeks until a doctor's appointment seemed impossible.
It has been 4 months since my world literally crumbled beneath my feet and everything stopped. I stopped cleaning, doing preschool with my daughter, leaving love notes for my husband, going visiting teaching, doing consistent scripture study, attending the temple, exercising, doing my hair, reading, trying to make new meals, blogging about my family, doing any hobbies, etc. It all stopped. I really didn't know how I would pick myself up and move forward, and I wasn't sure that I even wanted to try to move forward again.
I didn't do much for two months except blog on here and try to keep up with taking care of my family. Blogging was the only thing I could hold onto that wouldn't slip out of my grasp. I knew I needed to start doing other things, but I couldn't. It all hurt too much and served as a painful reminder that my life had changed dramatically, that I had changed.
At the beginning of January, with the painful memories of the past couple of months behind me, I decided to start trying again. It started with going to the temple. I was completely terrified and overwhelmed about going. Something about driving 2 hours, sitting with my daughter in a random place surrounded by random people, then going into the temple and completing all of the necessary steps, followed by driving another 2 hours home seemed impossible. But after a few failed attempts, we finally went. I was scared for days leading up to it and wondered if I could actually do it, but I DID!!! And the best part was that I felt good for 2 days after going. Blessings! We went back to the temple in February and plan to go again in March. Temple attendance is officially back in my life.
Then, I decided to add back in scripture study. I had been doing a little bit here and there, but nothing consistent or beneficial. Sometimes I would try to read and would get so overwhelmed that I would cry for 30 minutes or an hour without even opening the book. It was pathetic and frustrating and discouraging, so I stopped doing it altogether. But after a series of very fortunate events, I was able to find the strength to read. I only cried for a few minutes before exerting all the power I had to open the book and read. I read an entire chapter!!! That's the most I had read in at least a month. The next day, I read again. It was easier, and I felt blessings flowing into my life.
Next, I wanted to add visiting teaching. I got a wonderful new partner who has been a great support and strength to me. I was really overwhelmed about calling to set up appointments, but my partner's love and confidence in me gave me the strength to do it. Last month, we did ALL of our visiting teaching. I hadn't visited anyone since all of this started, so for us to visit/write everyone was truly miraculous.
I've slowly but surely tried to crochet again, do some activities with my daughter, write an occasional note for my husband, exercise sporadically, do my hair equally sporadically, and clean.
Things are still very different, and I don't know if they will get back to being normal again anytime soon. But this I do know--
It has been 4 months of learning about love, forgiveness, acceptance, and faithfulness from my husband.
It has been 4 months of recognizing that my daughter loves me for who I am, not for what I do.
It has been 4 months of miracles, blessings, and tender mercies shining through the pain and darkness.
It has been 4 months of feeling the humbling and empowering truth that I can find joy through my trials.
It has been 4 months of being inspired by the beautiful lives of others and their bravery in choosing joy, forgiveness, and hope through darkness.
It has been 4 months of feeling the enabling power of the atonement working in my life, strengthening me to slowly but surely move forward.
It has been 4 of the very hardest months of my life, but somehow looking back, I just feel thankful.