What do you like to do?
What do you want to do?
I don't know. Nothing.
That's how a regular conversation goes between me and my therapist. She keeps trying, but I have nothing.
What do your friends and family say you're good at?
I don't know. I don't believe them anyway.
You don't believe them when they compliment you?
No. There can't possibly be truth there.
For months, this is how I felt. It's the cruelty of Bipolar Disorder, and perhaps the medication used to treat it. I tried to explain it, how I'd lost myself. I didn't know where my self went. Where were my interests and passions, my desire to be with people, my drive? Where had it gone?
I just saw this article from this weekend's NY Times Magazine. It's painful and touching and heartbreaking and triumphant. And as of this writing it has 351 painful, touching, heartbreaking and triumphant comments. I'm comforted by not feeling alone.
In the article, the writer, who has suffered Bipolar Disorder 2, talks about her treatment and her doctors' lack of addressing her "vanishing self" in the process. What some of her meds did to dull her brain. Yet it's not all gloomy.
As my treatments are starting to really settle in, I'm getting what I keep calling glimmers. These glimmers are momentary flashes of things I've done or want to return to or new things I want to try. The glimmers make me think not of death and nothingness but living. It's like the scene in Back to the Future where Marty's family starts to reappear in that photograph and Marty is able to play guitar again at Enchantment Under the Sea.
I often forget these glimmers because they happen when I'm on the move. I have to remember to stop and write them down. I think they're a key to bringing back the self.