Being me can get me into a lot of trouble because I have bipolar 2 and this means that I spend very little time in the middle or being ‘normal’.
I can have days, weeks and months where my energy levels are through the roof and I honestly believe that I can do anything. Then I have days, weeks and months where I struggle to actually do anything. The truth of the matter is that no matter how high or low I am, I actually don’t achieve very much at all, because when I am full of energy, I only believe I can do anything, I don’t actually put into practice my intention. This cycle of behaviour has been present in me for as long as I can remember. This needs to change.
Over the last couple of months I have been in the depths of some of the worst depression that I have ever suffered from. It’s not that the depression itself was any different, it was the fact that I had nothing except my depression to keep me company. In the past I would have been able to escape myself using alcohol and spent hours looking at pornography and masturbating compulsively. These activities only gave me temporary rest-bite, but nonetheless it was escapism.
This time round I’ve had nothing. I had managed to alienate myself from my family. I had stopped seeing my therapist. I had alienated myself from my recovery buddies in AA, SAA and Co-DA. I didn’t even have alcohol or porn this time (which I am eternally grateful for). All I had was my depression. There were two people who understood what I was going through, in it’s entirety; my mother and my higher power (Jesus Christ).
This evening I have once again been to my Monday night SAA fellowship. I was feeling emotionally raw anyway and as I cued to get a cup of tea I noticed that Richard was in the kitchen. Richard was the first guy who came up and spoke to me after my first SAA meeting. He was also the guy who was chairing the first meeting I ever went to. He was also the first person that I ever called out to when I was feeling low. Today he simply came out of the kitchen, took me to one side and gave me the biggest hug. My eyes instantly filled with tiers as a sense of relief, acceptance, forgiveness and love filled my body.
4 months ago I thought I had my recovery sorted, so I turned my back on the fellowships and in the process I ended up walking away from a few really valuable friendships.
I found it doubly difficult to walk back into the room last week, for two reasons. Firstly; I haven’t struggled with acting out or my addictions since my spiritual awakening, so walking back into a fellowship felt hypercritical. Secondly, I had been telling everyone how well I was, so it took an awful lot of humility to be able to accept that I was once again suffering and to ask for help and support.
My depression is heavily linked to my sexual past, so once I got over the two reasons why I shouldn’t be at SAA and focus on the one reason why I should be, I start to realise that I am back in the right place and I actually started to feel better.
This evening, as I write this, I am overcome with gratitude and humility. I am grateful to everyone who makes these meetings possible, especially Richard who was, is and hopefully always will be my hero and inspiration.
SAA reintroduced me to the notion of God about a year ago. I had always said that I could never believe in God until I met him, so on the 9th July 2015, he literally and physically introduced himself to me.
At the beginning of this year I started attending alpha. About 10 days ago, at alpha, I did my first group prayer. The only thing I could think of was the serenity prayer. 4 days later I was back in the SAA fellowship saying the serenity prayer with 25 other people. One week on from that and I am feeling pretty good again and haven’t felt suicidal in the last 7 days.
It’s not that I feel amazing, it’s that I accept that it’s OK to not feel amazing. I’m still processing it, but I’ve once again come to realise that I have been holding in all this anger, fear and loneliness and that it’s all my fault. As soon as I reach out and admit that I need help, I receive all the love and support that I could possibly wish for.
I would like to finish by stating my gratitude for my family. They can be tough work, especially as they seem to have very little experience and understanding of mental illness and addictions. However, I must be grateful for the fact that I have a family, even if we aren’t very close, because it does mean that I can work on fixing that fact. This wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have them. In all honesty, I am grateful that they don’t understand what I have been through. It’s not been pleasant and I wouldn’t wish this illness on anyone.
I am once again grateful to be in recovery, because this feeling of peace and serenity sure feels better than denial.