Full. Completed. Perfect. Undivided. Fulfilled.
What does whole mean to you? To me?
For a long time, I didn’t know. I just knew I felt incomplete, and broken. Bipolar depression had shattered the me I knew and turned everything on it’s head. But I knew it wasn’t just the illness making me feel incomplete. I know this because even when I felt well for several years, I didn’t feel fulfilled really. I was spending so much time chasing and doing, but little to no time getting to know myself and understanding what I need.
As I have tried to pull myself out of my latest episode of depression I have often told myself, “I need something for me and me alone.” Caught up in a sea of everyone else’s needs I was feeling lost and empty. I couldn’t get out of the lingering tide of depression that kept bringing me down.
I thought of several ideas of what I could do just for me. Maybe I could get a job. Working a couple nights a week might be just the thing to get me out of the house and into a world of my own. That didn’t sit well with me, though. I had a new baby to care for. It wasn’t likely that I would really be able to leave on a regular basis in the evenings. This is because I wanted time with my husband as well, and that is the only time he is home with us, due to his work schedule.
Maybe I could do a play with a local theater company. I loved doing theater as a youth and young adult. The idea of exploring that art again was very attractive to me. I also desperately wanted to be creative again. But this would not work as well, for the same reasons I couldn’t get a job. There would be numerous evening rehearsals and I didn’t think I could even handle that big of a commitment at that time. So that idea was also discarded.
Time went on. I tried my best to find joy in making our house a home. I do enjoy decorating and painting walls, and beautifying our environment. I also have enjoyed reading. I found little things to do each day that I could enjoy while still caring full time for my four children. I also take time everyday to enjoy my children and the wonderful people they are becoming. But as years went by I realized that this wasn’t enough for me. I have spent years giving to others. And while I love this aspect of my life, I knew that I needed something more–something that I could really throw myself into for my own fulfillment.
When my depression started to dip down again a few months ago, I knew I could not put my own needs off any longer. I needed to find something I could do right away that would help to nourish me. So I prayed for help and I started forming some plans. I decided I might go back to school in the fall. I considered moving toward becoming a professional counsellor. I became excited about the prospect and realized how much I could bring to the table with a client, having experienced mental illness myself. I decided it would be a good idea to make a list of everything that I had learned from having mental illness. I did just that, and found that I had a lot of knowledge already that I could share.
So I started blogging. Why wait to become a counsellor? I could start sharing what I had learned, and my own experiences, with people right now–without going back to school.
It was a short month and half later that The Bipolar Writer liked one of my posts. I was intrigued. Who is The Bipolar Writer? I got onto his website and was amazed. This Bipolar Writer was doing was I was trying to do–help others with his experiences–and had quite a following. I loved what I read here and the sense of community and understanding I felt here. I wanted to be a part of it.
To my surprise and excitement, he posted that he was looking for contributor writers for his blog. I emailed James immediately and told him I would love to be a part of what he is doing. He graciously accepted my offer to write.
This is a nice story, but what does it have to do with becoming whole? I have been fortunate to explore writing again–really explore it and get creative in ways that I haven’t since I was attending college as a young adult. In doing so, I remembered how much I always loved writing in my youth. It was something I could always get excited about and I was pretty good at it, at the time.
I am rediscovering a long dormant love and passion for writing! This is what I have been needing. Something I can get excited about and look forward to that is just for my own enjoyment. It’s the missing piece that I didn’t know I needed all this time.
For the first time in many many years I am beginning to feel whole! I am a becoming full, complete, undivided and fulfilled Chelsea. I have started work on a novel and am working on developing my writing skills. Having this outlet is making me a better mom and wife and a happier me.
So thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you, James, for this opportunity.
In closing, I invite you to do some pondering. Think about what you need, what you enjoy and how you can incorporate it into your life. I hope in doing so you will find what you need to make you more whole.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Have you discovered your passion? Do you have something in your life that brings your joy and fulfillment? Comment to share.