Finally I have an answer to the perturbing story that has unfolded before me this past year. I’ve been diagnosed as bipolar. I had a suspicion–all along–since my first psychosis–that I was not normal and that this was going to be a long and challenging battle. And it is. I’m going to have to continue to take medication for the rest of my life. I’m going to have to go to therapy regularly. But thankfully, I am not alone. I have the support of my family, friends, and psychiatrist.
What people don’t know about bipolar disorder is that it isn’t just mood swings, it isn’t that actually. It’s periods of mania followed by periods of depression. But mania can last months, actually. If bipolar isn’t taken care of a manic episode can turn into psychosis. That happened to me twice, in just one year. At first, I was open to taking medication but I angrily refused it months later, before I was diagnosed. This is what led to my second and hopefully last psychosis about two months ago. Now I am medicated and stable and I have to thank God for allowing me the opportunity of belonging to a privileged family that can afford to support my treatment. What I have to say to people diagnosed or those not diagnosed but perhaps struggling with another disorder is that it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world. And yes, it’s hard-but we can do it! We can become examples of mental health by taking care of ourselves and motivating others to do the same.
Unlike Freudian psychology, which suggests that man is driven by a pleasure principal, Viktor E. Frankl suggests that man is driven by finding a meaning in one’s life. In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” a quote by Nietzsche marks what the basis of his theory–logotherapy–
“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”
The author experienced a horrifying account of life in a concentration camp and how some (such as Capos) did whatever it took to survive. I’m just beginning to read this book but after skipping to the end upon temptation to find more wonderful quotes, I read this:
[A student of Frankl surprised him in class by saying, “The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning in theirs.”]
That is logotherapy, and for now, a new principle for which to live by. Something not void of life, but absolutely the opposite–
Enduringly full of it.
All I know is what I remember.
All I have is what I remember.
I tried, for years I tried to forget.
I tried to say goodbye, but then I understood and I knew the truth buried deep within me had to be unraveled.
Nobody knows what happened in Ithaca.
Only I know. I know what I felt. I know what I experienced. I knew the moment I read the words on the page and they meant something else. They were no longer letters floating on a plane and I was no longer a student doing research. The secret was hidden in the text. The secret was hidden in the words. It took me years to finally understand myself and realize that what I was avoiding all along was the treasure that I was looking for. It took faith, and hope, and believing it was possible.
I was the person that didn’t believe in love.
I was the person that was perfectly content being on my own—I still am—but that doesn’t mean that I can’t accept love (pure and true and divine) as a truth that is inevitable in our world. After all, why are we here? We are here to love. There is no higher power than love itself.
Then why was I fighting for so long? All those years I didn’t think it was this but then it became clear to me: I was fighting something that was bound to happen by destiny. I was fighting something that is meant to be lovely and beautiful, not sinful or painful or wrong. I was fighting what I wanted the most—negating myself love and happiness in search of a truth based on reason and logic.
But here’s the thing:
It happened when I least expected it to happen.
I thought that I had won the fight.
I thought I was well on my way in my pursuit of knowledge and the life of an academic—dedicated to research and writing and ideas.
Then I had an epiphany.
The words on the page had a meaning. I understood that I had a choice. I could choose Despair (I had already chosen Despair—I had chosen it a long time ago,) or I could choose Hope.
In the end, I chose Hope.
I made a decision, and I took action.
I regret nothing.
Do I regret choosing Despair? No.
If I had not experienced Despair, I would not feel the same way about Hope.
I don’t know what happens next, but I do know what happens now:
Now I try to live each day without desperation, or anger, worry, or stress. I try to control the longing, and the desire and the ache to finally be with the Other. But I know that everything happens in its time. So I will not sulk and I will not dwell. And if I feel pain then I let myself feel pain.
The pain of memories is the inability to forget. Even after you think that you “let go,” even after you think that you have put your past behind you, even after you think you can say goodbye to everything that matters and the only thing that meant something, you will remember the most important thing there is to remember—the most important thing we must never forget—Time is in Us.
We remember because we are guided by our experiences.
We remember because we could not love without our past—without our history.
We remember because there are things we cannot forget for a reason. There are people that are meant to be in your life, and they are, and they forever will be.
The pain of memories is remembering what love felt like and believing it wasn’t real—believing it was all in my head.
The pain of memories will haunt us forever.
But this—this moment suspended in time—is what makes me so fond of the pain and of the memories—they guide me to the light—they point the way forward—the pain of memories is what keeps me going because one day I will understand that the pain was worth it. The pain is worth it. If I can rejoice in a lifetime of Unity than this pain is a memory I will relish forever.
I know that you are tired.I know that you (sometimes) jump to conclusions and assume that you will never find love but–
You have to have faith.
If you’ve tried to look for it and it hasn’t worked, be patient.
Let it come to you.
Be patient, have faith, and stop searching for love.
Be yourself and one day (perhaps) when you least expect it, that person that you’ve been wishing for all along will profess their love to you. Or that person that has yet to appear in your life will make their entrance.
Don’t fantasize or imagine it–stay busy, socialize, work, hang out, etc.– but stop idealizing the moment of falling in love. This happens, or is supposed to happen, organically.
Let’s go with the flow and love will come to us.
Mental health includes therapy, a support system, and also–in other cases–medication. That’s why we have medicine folks. I used to be a non-believer but I think that what is important is to find a balance. Treat symptoms of a disease with talking and writing along with, if it necessary for the patient, medication. Let’s not forget that exercise, meditating, art, and music, –even pets– help a patient struggling with a disease. But sometimes, as the photo below suggests, these are not enough. Support psychologists and psychiatrists in Puerto Rico by believing in mental health and eliminating the stigma we have. The more we talk about it, the less excluded people struggling feel. Let’s make mental health an inclusive and open part of our society. We definitely need it.
Chase your dreams! We have the power to do it‼ No matter who tells you you can’t, no matter how many times you fall, you can be whatever you want to be‼ I am a currently a writer aspiring to learn about human beings from every standpoint I can. I want to understand our psyche, our motives, our desires, and also what makes us who we are from a biological point of view as well. I am addicted to learning and information–It’s my time to learn how I can give back and serve others.
Reading Guillermo Rebollo Gil and identifying, quite frankly, with his belief of how we in Puerto Rico tend to be anti-intellectual (despite our obliviousness to it). A perfect quote from his book, “decirla en pedacitos: estrategias de cercanía” —
“No es fácil vivir en el trópico y ser inteligente. Mucho menos cuando ‘el diagnóstico del País es muerte cerebral’ .”
Está fuerte pero el tiene razón. Existe una clase intelectual pero es menospreciada. Mi sueño es que con tiempo, dedicación, y sobre todo–educación–el “ser intelectual” sea algo nítido.