Today, I’m sitting with contemplation.
Sometimes it helps to close your eyes, sometimes it helps to keep them focused on a blank space on a wall or a picture you like. Do what you need to do. But I want you to imagine a dot. Let that dot be any color you (or it) want that dot to be. Keep that dot in the center of your eye/mind and start to work on your breathing. Start by just breathing in and out regularly. Feel the air enter on the breath in, then feel it pass on the way out. Repeat but with each passing breath, let the air flow a little deeper. With each breath, keep your eye on that dot. Try to make more and more space in your mind for the air and the dot. Focus. Repeat this for a while.
Now, make some space for your inner monologue. Ask yourself:
What’s troubling you this week?
What are you looking forward to?
Sit with these questions, remembering that there is no right way to answer anything in this space. Trust your inner monologue’s voice, but remember it doesn’t necessarily need to be right.
Today marks a milestone I didn’t think I would reach. I’m three years from a difficult 30 day period where I publicly wrestled with being Bipolar II. I’m in love with this period of my life and I mean that sincerely because it is a sincere love. This love is truthful, shot full of holes and complex. I struggle with this period because it is such a great and worry-filled time. I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. My attitude changed toward uncomfortable things. I sit with a lot more than I used to because of that time and space, making my non-contemplative time useful and stiletto sharp.
Three years later, I’m doing shit that I could have never done in 2014. I live in a place that I like. My child knows who I am and we have a friendship that is full of mirth and secrets. I am still married to the same person and we like seeing each other. I travel the planet, unlocking doors and seeing dangerous things.
But I know the real deal.
73 percent of us have a relapse in a five year period.
90 percent of people who are Bipolar 2 get hospitalized at one point.
Comorbid substance abuse is common, occurring in 50 percent of us.
So I’m constantly standing on the cliff with my other mind, wondering who will make the first move. Will I notice a slight change and transform into a different person? Will I just fall off?
Research says that the best way to prevent relapse is to be ruthless about your symptoms. Even the slightest change is to be met with vigor and challenged without mercy.
So I talk to my doctor.
So I talk to my wife.
So I play with my son.
We don’t wait. And we reserve all mercy and forgiveness for my real self. The symptoms, while a part of me, ain’t me.
Unlike Rakim, I know that I know the ledge.
This space will get more regular.