Regret Nothing : 30 Days of Truth

Day 22 : Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

I never regret anything. Because every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end.
Drew Barrymore

As a woman with Bipolar Disorder, emotions are a quintessential part of my life.  So, naturally, it would be shocking for me to admit that regret is not an emotion that I often experience.  Difficult to believe?  I would certainly believe so, especially in a person where emotions are often extreme and feral!

I experience a certain lack of regret for a number of reasons.

I typically choose my words and actions wisely.  I have often said, “There are just some things in this life that you cannot take back.”  Once certain behaviors are out there in reality, there may be no amount of apology or reparations that can fix the damages.  However, this is not to say that I don’t make my fair share of mistakes.

I do not regret my mistakes.  Mistakes are learning experiences, not irreparable failures.  Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  That is exactly the nature of mistakes.  They are meant to teach us lessons.  It is up to us to derive an appropriate lesson from our mistakes.

There is another saying out there about regret.  “Never regret anything, because at one time, it was exactly what you wanted.”  That is precisely it.  Often, the choices that we make seem like the best choices for us at the time.  I am a stubborn kind of person, and even if there was some kind of time machine where I could go back and warn myself, I would certainly not have heeded my own warning.

I am a firm believer in fate, and I have faith that everything happens from significant purpose to later be determined in hindsight.  You know what they say, hindsight is 20 / 20.  And when we begin to work out the course of the events in our lives, we start to see how the tapestry comes together to weave the people we have become.

I am a stronger person person for having bipolar disorder.  I am a better mother for having a son on the spectrum.  I am a better wife, because I have a husband who loves me.  I am a more determined person for having dropped out of college.  Each struggle provides me with more character and more things to build myself up.

A wealth of evidence exists in my life to prove fate to me.  Xan and I met ten and a half years ago, through my high school sweetheart.  The two of them had become college roommates, and I had grown quite close to Xan.  And throughout the years, we remained close friends, despite any falling outs we may have had.  It was like we were drawn together by some unexplainable force.  I explained a great deal of that in a series of posts entitled, “Possibility and Ascention”, “Seeds of Affection”, and “Mo Anam Cara”. After all we had went through in the five years we weren’t romantically involved, we came together after all.  And as imperfect as my marriage is, it is the most perfect, unconditional love I have ever experienced.  I have certainly found my soulmate.

Every experience has a place in the tapestry of one’s life.  Experience is an essential part of who we are.  Our successes and mistakes come to shape us into the people that we are.  And without those experiences, we might not be the people that we will eventually come to cherish.

Often, I treat everyday as if it were my last day, or potentially the final day for someone I love.  After Xan’s car accident, my eyes were wide open to the fragility of life and the certain mortality we all face.  Each day must have some peaceful conclusion, lest someone passes in the night.  A lesson has to be derived from each event, and work toward the betterment of my myself and those around me.  And each day, I attempt to say or do at least one thing to better another person’s life.  Or at least their day.

I live life to live it.  I regret nothing.  Because in the end, it is my life.

Advertisements

The Journey of Recovery

Recovery is a tricky word.

re·cov·er·y /riˈkəvərē/

Noun:
  1. A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength: “signs of recovery in the housing market”.
  2. The action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost: “the recovery of his sight”.

First, what exactly is “normal”?  I typically refrain from using that word, because there really is no standard definition of normality that is not relative to a societal standard.  In mental health, there is no standard.  There is no “normal”.  Everyone remains precisely unique in their own conscious and subconscious cognition and emotional regulation and processes.  No neurology is identical and no biochemistry is identical either.  Therefore, normality cannot be judged against anything.

I would rather substitute words like “typical” and “average”.  Typical describes a certain relativity, but does not fail to include atypical presentations as something that might be “normal”.  In addition, the word “abnormal” carries such a heavy stigma.  The other words carry a connotation of individuality, as seen in our uniqueness as humans, being part of the human condition.

Secondly, I would deviate from using the second definition.  I am not reclaiming possession of anything.  There was nothing lost in the first place.  There was a dysfunctional state of mind and being.  The only thing that was disrupted was typical functioning.  I would refrain from claiming that there is any possession in function.  It provides a definition of a standard of control that is impossible to achieve, even at the highest and best of functioning.

It is impossible to describe it as the process of “getting better”.  That insists that I can return to the state of mind and living prior to the onset of symptoms.  In fact, for me, I am not entirely certain that such a place even exists – I have been symptomatically in one way or another for longer than I can recall.   There are no U-turns in this journey.  The path does not allow for that.  There is only forward.

Getting Better has the wrong meaning when it is being used.  “Better” is often thoughts of a permanent state of wellness where we are devoid of symptoms entirely.  It may be a daunting thought, but I do not necessarily believe that mental health disorders have a solution or a “cure.” No such state of “better” is in existence.

Recovery to me means many things.  I can describe it best as a process toward refining overall wellness and optimal mental health.  There is always a state of progression of “getting better”. That’s what recovery is.  A road.  A journey without a particular destination.  There is no end of the road, just the road itself.  Sometimes, it’s smooth and flat, and other times it winds, laden with potholes and detours.

The responsibility rests on me to navigate this road as best as possible.  I should anticipate these hazards.  When I’ve lost my route, I can plan to reroute with the help of certain guide posts and road markers.  I should understand that everyone loses their way.  Everyone gets a flat from time to time.  And there is no shame in stopping to ask for directions or calling roadside assistance.  These people exist for a reason.

And above all else, it’s my own journey.  No two journeys are alike.  It’s irresponsible to hold my journey against another as the standard.  And even when the weather is bleak and I am on a turbulent road, I should always look forward and keep my eyes open for clear skies.  The journey itself is all that matters.