It’s all a matter of perspective really. Let me tell you about my life and see what you think.
I have plenty of free time with windows every weekend and daytime during the week to pursue projects of my choosing. I meet with men’s groups early in the week, gather for meditation towards the end and have even met with girls over the weekend. I am time rich. I am not rich rich. I earn a steady but very modest income which is enough to support me, my car and my small mortgage. I live in a flat which is newly decorated with sea views and space to sit outside on a make-shift terrace. It catches the sun and I take pleasure in basking some days and looking out upon the town beneath me. In terms of work, I am stress free and work two small jobs with part time hours. I don’t find myself snarled up in traffic or getting a migraine as I struggle to make my appointments.
“ On a good day I might tell myself that I am living the dream. Freedom, independence and space to myself to be creative. That, of course, is only half the story. . .]
In a former life I had an abundance of other things. A four bedroom house in Chestfield, huge garden, two cars, two children, a wife, two cats and a career with a high income. The world was my playground, although I only ever really went to all inclusive family friendly resorts on the Med. It was hard to look around and see any of my peers who had more than me. I had strived and I had been patient but in my mid forties the world had delivered to me what my studious years, my struggling years and my frustrating years had promised. Mission accomplished.
And that is the point at which I would ask you to adopt a point of view upon these contrasting lives. Do they both have merit ? Are they equally of value? Does the former trump the latter ? Is there a sense of evolution or of loss ? Do you judge this person ? Can you judge this person fairly ? How do they judge themselves ? How did one become the other ? What was their journey ?
There are too many questions to answer immediately but I will dip into the last one. What was my journey ? I hope to explore this more fully in the weeks to come but for now the words bipolar and mental illness give you a flavour. I have a particular perspective on the journey but hope this juxtaposition of lifestyles hints at my position. Mental illness can be terrible, shattering and disastrous. It can also be other things. It is these other things which I hope to explore.
I no longer see their sunny faces
Or hear their funny laughs
I no longer walk them off to school
Or take them for a bath
But I have more time to see the sun
And watch it on the waves
I’m not sure my life is sunnier
Is this my home or just my cave ?
For me the bipolar struggle has been navigated, in part, through creativity. I hope to explore that further, if you can tolerate a range of prose and poetry that walks a line between the self indulgent and the confessional and the convoluted. I hope you might find it interesting.