The day one gives thanks

So today is Thanksgiving. I have missed that, which is easy when you’re European, but now that I’m aware, I may as well say a few words. *clears throat*

There are ways in which I am thankful for my bipolar disorder. Those ways occurred to me recently after having had quite a few conversations with people who have never spoken to gods; they have never had a big funky red mohawk; they have never followed their dreams, because they were afraid; they have never tried many, many things I have tried. And they have never felt fearless, and I have felt fearless pretty much permanently for over a year now.

My hypomania last year started in such a way that I thought I was still depressed, just coping with it very well. You see, in August a boyfriend of mine broke up with me, via a text message no less. A week after that I went for a holiday. I was loud, proud, mohawked and enjoyed every second. Some of them a bit too much, as I found when I flew in the air having cycled down the mountain without using breaks because somehow I thought breaks were for grandmas and I completely ignored the fact mountains have, you know, mountain roads on them. There was no sadness in me; I enjoyed every second of that stay, and I didn’t enjoy any of them more than the second I landed on the ground with a loud thud.

You see, I felt more alive than perhaps ever before. It was pure joy. I have also realised something else: I felt no fear. Like most people, I spent my life fearing things real and unreal, realistic and unrealistic. And at that moment I have realised I was fearless in a completely unmetaphorical way.

I stayed fearless in the months that followed. I lost all my inhibitions and all my phobias. And at some point I’ve been told that I need to quit my antidepressant cold turkey and take a different medication, and I thought, well, there goes my fearlessness. Except not. I am now in a very exhausting mixed episode, which in a way brought my phobias back (largely because the cycling is so tiring that the brain seems to resort to old ways of doing things) but I still have no fear. I forgot what it feels like. When I was slowly trying to wean myself off my old antidepressant I felt slight pang of fear (in a completely appropriate moment too) once or twice and remarked surprised, oh, that’s how it feels. It’s gone again. I have no clue how fear would feel if it came back. I’d probably be quite terrified if it did (hear, hear).

The previous 12 months have been a truly crazy ride, whether in Slovakian mountains or here at home. I found a new career (which I am still trying to pursue despite current bad health); met a massive amount of people some of whom became great friends; slept with a lot of them and one of them became my new boyfriend in a completely unexpected way. I got a lot of compliments on my red mohawk. I did a lot of writing, recording, drawing and other arts. I had time to rethink my life and come up with a vision of what I want it to be, and then I had courage to pursue that vision.

While the mixed state now put a halt to a lot of my plans — and, yes, financially I am in deep shit — I am still grateful for the first part of the year. Many people, I found out, don’t get to see as much of life in years that I have in months. I experienced and experienced, and then I experienced more. Not bad for a person that used to be terrified of any social interaction, too shy to ever go to a bar, scared of new things and places and too focused on making mommy happy to ever think about whether he had any dreams at all. And for those dreams, and seeing a part of them come true (and hoping more of them will), I thank today.

*steps off soapbox to muted applause*

Now, where the hell is my turkey!!!


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