I lost my power.
For several months you’ve watched me writhe and struggle over my sense of self, my life, my existence and my future.
Depression, anxiety, anger, hopelessness.
That’s what it comes down to: I let go of myself. A lack of ownership for a good part of a few years.
I’ve been writing in my journal a lot. I’m beginning to get closer to when the power was lost.
At the end of high school, the beginning of college, I was extremely confident.
I believed in myself, was strong in my convictions, and I defended myself staunchly, even when I was inexplicably wrong.
The puzzle mostly fit together. I look back and attribute some of the confidence to a long stretch of mania before I was diagnosed.
Self-confidence and sexual desire was high.
I was often focused on the opposite sex, the thrill of attracting the opposite sex, being noticed, and being liked. Enjoying the senses through music and touch and experimentation.
I miss that blind bliss (although I admit it did come with severe bouts of anger and much less sleep), and many people who live with Bipolar I and have experienced mania would agree with me.
At least, in a manic state, I am blind to fear.
When I started medication, of course, I was better off in a lot of ways. I stopped engaging in high-risk behaviors and thinking irrationally.
I began to focus on what I would contrast with mania as “real life”.
And the classes got harder. My minor was actually more difficult than anticipated.
Always considered extremely intelligent and ahead of my peers, I was shocked I might have to study.
I was working. I was living with my fiance. The pressure was mounting as bills started coming in. We were no longer living under the financial security and perceived protection of our parents.
College was ending, and there was nothing else to do but get a job. I didn’t want a nine-to-five job.
I wanted to sit in a comfy room and write. I didn’t want to deal with the public or be a business person.
I remember looking strangely at the underclassmen in their business suits, wondering why anyone would want to major in something so boring and clinical.
I feel. I create. I dream.
But I started listening to the messages around me: Kat, you should be “this”. It will be best for you to focus on “this”. Why aren’t you doing “this”? What are you going to do next? Figure it out now!
Because of the weak foundation I was built on, I started to panic.
I need to get my life figured out! I need to move in a certain direction, because that is what successful adults do! How could I possibly think that I will do what I love to do for the rest of my life?
The feedback I received during that formative time of my late teens and early 20’s can be summed up in a few sentences: Life is not fun. Life is a lot of work. You gotta do what you gotta do to make it. Money rules everything.
I became obsessed with money and objects and chasing things and approval.
I abandoned my dreams as silly.
And now look where I am. I am exhausted and nothing is authentic anymore.
I just spent over 10 months with people who ripped me apart personally. They were never happy, no matter how satisfactory my work and effort was. No matter how much I went the extra mile.
My commitment, dedication, loyalty, and naivete was exploited.
And not only by that company, but by others in my professional life who I learned I really don’t like.
I know why I hit rock bottom a few weeks ago. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t live in conflict with who I am.
I’m not respecting myself. I am more loyal to others who don’t care about me than my own self.
I’m done. That is a terrible way to live and I can’t believe I was living that way that long.
I don’t want to spend my time with toxic people. I am not interested in my work.
My last day at the bad job was Wednesday. I am free. I feel better.
I am starting a new, much more creative position that is closer to home and with a lot better schedule. I start on Monday and I’m doing research at home today and over the weekend.
It is a different direction, and most of us don’t like to change directions.
It is an uncomfortable process, but it is for the best. Because I’ve realized that most of what I’ve been doing in the past year does not even matter to me.
By trying to tread a prescribed road, I’ve abandoned my purpose.
Now I will write more, and create more, and I will find a way, no matter what, to live authentically.
My dreams are not silly. How silly it is to abandon our dreams!
I must take the power back. I must be in control of my self and start doing what I want.
What a surprise! Living for others doesn’t work.
Pretty soon, I’m going to post a list of things I’ve wanted to do but have been too exhausted, overpowered, anxious, or scared to do over the past year.
Part of the change will require restarting things I used to do that now feel uncomfortable.
I hope you join me during this time of transition! It should be interesting.
Thank you for all the support, all of you.