Moving Forward with Grace

Moving Forward with Grace

 

I’ve been asked several times over the past 2 years how I’ve managed to move forward with my life. My answers range in so many different ways. But I would say I am moving forward with grace.

                First, to make sure everyone understands what I mean by that. To move forward with grace, to me anyway, means to not leave destruction in my path. Also, to only share my story with people who deserve to hear it or those who need to hear it. To not blame anyone but him, and myself (just a little) for the abuse. To know that I bent a little but didn’t break. To know that not every person is going to hurt you and to use what has happened for the greater purpose.

                Second, I don’t really have a choice but to move forward. I have these two little beautiful people that are watching my every single move. I can’t treat life with hate or show them the pain I feel. What they need to see is a mother who is doing the absolute best she can, and a mother that loves them more than anything else in the world. They need to watch me be strong and resilient. My children, as young as they are, only need to know that the world is good and that the people that mommy allows near them love them.

                Third, I have so many amazing people in my life, that all I want is to make them proud of me. My family is pretty awesome and supportive in all of the things I continue to do since leaving the abuse. I honestly don’t know where I would be in my life if not for them. Then I have these amazing people that I call friends. They have gotten me through some really rough times. A few have taught me things about myself that I didn’t know. I never in my life thought I would care so much about people that do not share my blood. But blood doesn’t make family. Then there is a couple people that are from his family that have held true to actually caring about me and my children and not hated me because I chose to leave a dangerous and toxic marriage. ***Side note I love all of you***

                And last but not least, I have a passion to help people like myself. All that I have been through, has given me this passion that I don’t know if I would have otherwise. I want to be able to share my story with others, so that they can see it is possible to leave. It is possible to do all of the things they once told you was unattainable. I want someone to know they are not alone even if they feel like they are. A simple shoulder to cry on, a simple kind word, and a simple smile can completely change how someone feels.

“At least you’re productive when manic”

This is the response I most often receive once people find out that I cook and clean and write when manic. What I hear when you say this to me is, “Your mania isn’t serious.” “Your mania isn’t dangerous.” “Your mania is useful.” And, perhaps most hurtful of all, “Stop complaining, it could be worse.” Here’s the thing, though: My mania *is* dangerous. It puts my health and safety at risk, because I don’t make wise decisions. I will cross the street with little regard for traffic. I become severely sleep deprived. And thinking that my mania is useful sets me up for problems, because it makes me less likely to stay on my meds when I have them.

As for the claim that I’m productive, I’m not really. I’m too busy doing all the things, because all the things must be done, to focus on doing any one task well and completely. My thoughts are racing, so my body is racing, and I’m jumping from task to task, rather than seeing one project through to the end before starting the next one. Things do eventually get finished, but not to the same standard as when I’m not manic. My anxiety kicks into overdrive when I’m manic, which makes it even harder to focus on anything. And I end up needing those around me to help look out for me and take care of me, because otherwise it becomes a never ending cycle until I crash into depression. The anxiety feeds the mania, which feeds the anxiety, and around and around the mulberry bush until pop goes the depression.

The reason I cook and clean and write when I’m manic is because I started experiencing mania as a teenager, and I had severely limited options on how to deal with it. My options now are still fairly limited, though not as much as they were back then. I have no money, and no transportation, so shopping is out of the question. (Though I am more than capable of serious spending sprees when I do have money and transportation.) My mania is usually worst at night, but growing up I knew there would be consequences for waking the rest of my family, so I could not go for a walk, or put on music and dance. About the only things available to me were cooking, cleaning, and writing. So, that’s what I learned to do in order to deal with my manic spells.

If you love me; if you care about me; if you in any way consider me a friend; don’t tell me my mania is useful. That does not help me, and in fact can make things worse. It makes me want to be friends with my mania, and that just isn’t possible. I am well aware that things could be worse, regardless of what situation I’m discussing. I don’t need to be reminded of that. What I need is to be reminded that I’m not in this alone, and that there are people in my life who are willing to step in and tell me to “Stop, take a breath, and see. Actually *see* what you’re looking at.” And then help me address the source my mania (if applicable). Sometimes (too many times) there is no source. In those moments, I need to still hear that I’m not alone, that I am ok, and that I can and will get through this moment. Remind me that my mania is temporary. Remind me that I have survived it before. Remind me that I still need sleep. And, above all, don’t let me cross the street by myself, lol!