It has become a theme as I read through old journals and poems and pages of notes I’ve scribbled through the years. That same thing I believe many of us with any kind of illness constantly asks ourselves.
What did I do wrong that caused me to get this?
I have one journal entry where I write:
I have always tried to be nothing but nice and do the right thing, and 20 years later I am living a life of illness, sadness, confusion, frustration, and loneliness. I feel badly because I am ruining everyone’s life. All those that care about me are suffering because of me. I don’t want to be a nuisance or burden or cause any pain to those around me…
I know that I had asked myself that question a million times and could never come up with an answer. I filled myself up with so much guilt all the time because I truly felt I was ruining everyone’s lives. What could be done to fix it? This was an illness that didn’t just vanish. You couldn’t just take an antibiotic and by the time you reached the end of the bottle the illness was gone.
How can things ever be the same again?
They can’t and they won’t.
But, the first step toward achieving some sort of, any sort, of stability or balance and getting your illness so that it is no longer affecting your own life so much that you believe that you are this incredible burden and liability to those around you is understanding that YOU as a person DID NOTHING WRONG “to deserve this.” Self blame is going to get you no where but deeper in the hole making it that much further you have to dig out from.
Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance in your brain. There is no way you could have done anything differently to change that. HOWEVER, depending on when the symptoms began and when you had your first manic episode, or psychotic break, that is where it gets a little bit tricky on determining why the symptoms decided to show.
There are a lot of different reasons that researchers and doctors attribute to why the disorder comes out full throttle. But, we also know that each one of our cases are completely different than the next. I mean, if they were identical, then each pDoc,would be able to scribble out the same exact prescription combo for every one of us and then send us on our way because taking the same med cocktail would fix it all.
If only it were that easy.
Since it’s not, then we know that no two cases are the same, which means that the reasons the symptoms popped out vary as well. Some say environmental factors or situational stressors may trigger the symptoms. Others may trigger symptoms through substance abuse.
There is NO clear cut, plain as day answer that anyone can give us as to what exactly triggered the symptoms, and why did they trigger them in me and not one of my siblings.
The longer we sit and keep begging for the answer to “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” the longer we are going to keep digging ourselves into a deep, dark hole that will swallow us up and make it even harder for us to begin the steps to start our recovery.
TRUST ME!!!! I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And for far too long according to these journals. I wasted so much time wallowing in the whole self pity hole, I’m surprised I had a single friend or family member who hadn’t given up on me.
We can’t keep ourselves stuck trying to find the answer to a question that will never be found. Yes, we can take some time to process it all and take it all it, but then we have to start finding the answers to questions that WE CAN answer, like, what treatment plan is going to work best, what medications will be effective, how much therapy will I need, what type will work best….. and so on. THOSE are the questions to shift your focus to.
Remember, we did nothing wrong, nor was there anything wrong with us that caused us to have this illness. Yes, it’s going to be difficult at times, but there was nothing we did that caused us to have this. Now, let’s get to finding the answers we can find!!!!