Monday, December 05, 2005

The Difference A Year Makes

I've been tempted to re-read the posts I made last year to my former blog, "Living Bipolar" (which lives on my hard-drive but not on the web), but I'm resisting. A few of my readers may remember the gist of them, however. An ugly period that was. Last Christmas morning, I felt the most genuinely suicidal than I had since making a semi-serious suicide attempt in the winter of 2001-2002.

Oh, my God. What a difference a year makes. From the outside looking in, my life is a small--and often solitary--one. But, from the inside, it looks bigger than it ever has. Or rather, it feels like a real life, grounded in the quotidian but forward-reaching, oriented to possibility, open to the outside world. I have work, art, friends, physical health, and love--which just about covers the bases.

Specifically helpful in the last year have been:

• working on Portland stages and sticking with acting classes, both of which have required enduring never-ending moments of humiliation (which have almost always been followed by artistic growth) as I've submitted to the work and managed to let go--at least from time to time--of my silly ego;

• letting mentors guide me, especially Neal A. Corl (acting coach) and Theresa Koon (vocal coach). These people know what they're doing and have been firm, but loving, doing it;

• continuing to find support from my therapist and bipolar & depression support group (which can be found through NAMI);

• putting down some roots by better maintaining important friendships and opening myself to new ones;

• re-building my relationship to family;

• getting fit, as I've shifted the means by which I find comfort.

I share all this in the spirit of a fellow traveller who wishes to trade notes on the new terrain, suggesting which routes have worked for him, having formerly posted warning signs at dangerous turns, along the way.

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