Sunday I jetted from teaching a Wreath Making event to an early dinner with my spouse (The class was a success). I have never been to the eatery before alone, so I used my handy dandy GPS app. As I drove on the part of the freeway that I rarely ever frequent it hit me that my relationship with driving has been all over the map. I have had major problems, where I would suffer from panic attacks while driving to work, and then back when I lived on the east coast, I was a speed racer.
I thought about my relocation from the east coast to the southwest. In 2009 I was given the opportunity to relocate and follow my boss to Arizona. I had been his assistant since 2004, and he was and still is like a father to me. I loved my job and making a move across the country was a no-brainer, plus my gut told me to do it, and my gut is never wrong. With my divorce finalized in April, I was more than ready to start my new adventure when June finally came around.
The end of June 2009, I drove from Maryland to Pennsylvania in the pouring rain with my companion, Charlee Mae (my one-year-old orange tabby). The following day we left Pennsylvania with my mom in tow and started our trek. I was the primary driver, per my choice, for the trip and it was the start to the adventure of my life.
What is very interesting is that I had no driving anxiety at this point in my life. I actually loved to drive. It was something that was carefree and enjoyable. I was thinking of this on Sunday. Had I had an issue with driving back in 2009, would I have ever made the trip across the country? Would my fear and anxiety been too much and kept me in the state of Maryland?
Then on this, I thought a little bit deeper. Had I known that I was Bipolar back in 2009, would I have been brave enough to leave all that I know to take on this grand adventure? I have shared my frustration with my mother about not being diagnosed as a teen. I spent a year in and out of inpatient treatment for an eating disorder during my sophomore year of high school. But alas, the diagnosis and then proper treatment came a mere 2.5 years ago. I kept asking why.
Sunday I was given my answer. Had I known that I was Bipolar, I don’t think I would have ever left. Too many unknowns. When I left Maryland, I was worried about finding a good auto mechanic and dry cleaners. I can’t imagine leaving a pyramid of care that consists of psychiatrists and psychologists, going to the desert and finding new doctors from scratch. Plus, I moved out west alone. I had no partner, no spouse, just my cat, and my boss and his wife. It was a great support network, but perhaps not robust enough to manage a Bipolar diagnosis and all that comes with it.
Much of my time now is spent keeping an eye on my mood and all that comes along with that:
- Am I up or am I down?
- Am I having too much caffeine?
- Have I eaten enough food?
- Did I eat too much sugar?
- Am I taking my meds?
- Do I have enough money in my account to buy my prescriptions?
- When is my therapy appointment?
- When do I see my psychiatrist?
- Again, do I have money to pay the hefty fee for my out of network doctors?
This would have been just too much to handle on top of the life I was living at that time. I was pursuing a career, traveling, working long hours, and in school getting my degree. There was not room to manage a chronic mental illness all alone.
I am convinced that had I been diagnosed when I was younger that I would not have made a move. And had I not made a move, I would have never met my partner. And he is just that, my partner and my friend. I left our dinner yesterday afternoon to head to another event, and I cried in the car. We had a busy weekend, and we each were going in our own separate ways, passing each other literally in the hallway, and I simply missed him. Having dinner with him at the eatery, listening to live Celtic music, was just so perfect and it was hard to cut it short and go on to my other commitment for the day.
I am a firm believer that things happen when they are supposed to happen. That we are given what we can handle when we can handle it. I can see how I needed to be in an established, secure and committed relationship before having my mental breakdown. I needed to make it to Arizona to be with the family that was waiting for me, before I was given the accurate diagnosis of Bipolar One, along with some other mental illnesses. Much could have been avoided had I been properly medicated over the last 17 years. But if I had to go through all I did, to have the family that I have today, it was all worth it, and I am incredibly grateful.
May your day be blessed,