Friday, August 29, 2014

"A Whole New World"

Over the past few weeks my five year old son has watched the Disney film Aladdin umpteen times. It is one of my favorite animated movies. In my opinion, Disney movies contain songs that are memorable.

"A Whole New World" from the movie is one of those unforgettable songs. I consider it to be a song about exploration: opening your eyes to new experiences, discovering the wondrous things around you and the exhilaration of trying to take in every sight and sound because you don't want to miss a single precious moment. In addition, it involves trusting someone to guide you in these amazing adventures.

Since I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder this song has changed its meaning from what I have felt in the past. I used to experience an exuberance in learning new things, following the brightest star and perceiving the world in a different light than those around me. Sadly, with my diagnosis, I have learned that my belief in the things that I found fascinating, the stars that I have been reaching for and my perception of the world were highly exaggerated; not realistic. The world instills the notion that everyone should reach for the stars and that anything can be accomplished if you only put your mind to it. On the contrary, if you have bipolar disorder your ideas are too big and your dreams too high. Since when is grandiosity considered to be a concept to be discouraged?

In the movie, Aladdin pretends to be something he is not. In my journey of trying to blend in to what society considers to be normal, I feel as if I am being deceitful. My actions are unauthentic. I am lying about who I really am; pretending to be someone else. Intellectually I know which decisions will lead me on the right path to recovery but in the depth of my soul it feels wrong. Even with medication and therapy, I am white knuckling my way through life. Due to the knowledge that I now possess, I know that I can't go back to where I used to be even if I wanted. 

I am lost. I am in need of someone to show me the way in the discovery of my new life. I desire something beyond books and the internet. I know that I have a supportive husband and a team of mental health professionals helping me find out who I really am, yet I feel a need for more. I yearn to have someone further along the journey of bipolar disorder to confide my fears, frustrations and insecurities. I long for someone with personal insight to take my hand and lead me; someone to tell me that what I am feeling is normal and everything will turn out fine in the end.

I wish that I could be a positive role model for those who suffer from mental illness. I want to inspire others and give them hope for the future. But yet in the end, I realize that I am unable to accomplish any of these goals if I do not have the answers for myself. 
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