It’s strange how time passes — how after the unthinkable occurs, life goes on. The sun rises and falls. Flowers bloom. Trees rustle in the wind. There is an eeriness to it and in the beginning it is tempting to stay lost in this space.Read More
It’s different for everyone, but for me, grief was like walking through the valley of a shadow of death: a place where I walked and walked with seemingly no hope — just darkness and shadows and the faintest of light.Read More
Sometimes I close my eyes, and I’m there again, in the apartment we once shared. The room is small, with wood floors, a white couch, and books neatly arranged along the shelves. The air is still. It’s just me there, and I can feel the beat of my heart, hear the sound of my breath.
It’s times like these that I realize that grief never really ends. For me, grief has been like a tide, ebbing and flowing — sometimes with greater and lesser frequency, but always there, always returning.
In these moments, I remind myself that it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to feel sad and to remember the things that once were. Grief is a sign of love. And at the end of it all, what are we meant to do in this life if but to love, to grow in it and in spirit?
In moments like this, I’m also reminded that some bonds are hard to break, even across time and space. Loved ones are with us in different ways. Sometimes this fact can be painful as we consider our loss, but on the other side of this emotion, perhaps there is also a comfort that we still remember, that we still love.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also find my book, Grieving the Loss of a Love: How to Embrace Grief to Find True Hope and Healing After a Divorce, Breakup, or Death helpful.
I never thought much of dreams until last year when I had one with Brian in it.
It had been a year since I had last seen him. And though he had since remarried and moved on with his life, it didn’t change the fact that he had been such a large part of mine. The loss was hard on me. I felt it each day.Read More
Bipolar can be such a devastating illness. It can be a difficult monster to defeat. It is deceptively beautiful at times. Thoughts come so fast that they overwhelm you. Emotions are so beautiful you are moved to tears. Creativity abounds and you’re filled with confidence.Read More
I've been busy working at getting my private practice up and running. I leased an office and applied for a business license. I've been working on my website. Days go by quickly and it feels as if time is very limited. I haven't ever felt this way before -- purposeful, intent, excited for what the future might bring. It's funny -- after having a manic episode and going through a divorce, things like this have greater meaning. I had to survive the depths of bipolar disorder in order to make it here today.Read More
After my divorce, the future seemed very uncertain. Suddenly, there was no longer an anchor to my life — no familiar structure or plan. There were many possibilities, but it felt as if there were almost too many — I could start a new job, move to another part of the country, go back to graduate school. The possibilities were endless and overwhelming.Read More
After my divorce, I didn't love less; instead, I found that I loved more. There was a dark period in time in which I wrestled with demons. I saw all my flaws. All the horrible mistakes I had made. I had spent so much time caught up in the material, tangible things in front of me that I had failed to realize the truth until it all came crashing down on me. When my life fell apart and I was left with nothing, when it was just me in the dark, peeling back the layers of my life, wrestling with God to please kill me now, suddenly, only truths remained: that there is meaning in life and it is love.Read More
I've been thinking a lot about hope lately. Before my diagnosis of Bipolar, I thought of hope as an emotion that people experienced erroneously or sometimes, even tragically. But after my diagnosis — after losing my marriage, identity, health, friends, family, and life as I knew it — I began to understand that hope is so much more.Read More
I have been thinking a lot about work lately -- the nature of it and what purpose it serves. What roles money, growth, and fulfillment play in it. How it relates to myself and to others.
When you work a job that drains all the energy from you, there is nothing worse. You feel worn down and depleted, meaningless and empty.
But when you are doing work that resonates with you, its as if time stands still. You're filled with clarity and calmness ('flow').You feel excited and engaged.Read More
I believe that there is a greater purpose to pain. I believe pain and suffering can be transcended -- transformed into something good. That we have a purpose in our lives, and our job is to discover that purpose, to align our lives with it. I believe that by following this energy and light, we move toward the wholeness we were made for.Read More
There were certain things that I knew and understood through my experiences as a clinical psychologist, but it wasn't until I became a patient that I truly understood. Simple things like sitting in the waiting room, the look in someone's eyes as I told them about my symptoms and all the things I had done while manic -- how much it now meant for there to be kindness there, and compassion.Read More
I heard this very beautiful song on the radio today. It's called Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
Lately, I've been reading through Thich Nhat Hanhs book, You Are Here. One of my favorite passages in it involves the topic of turning garbage into flowers:
Sorrow, fear, and depression are all a kind of garbage. These bits of garbage are part of real life, and we must look deeply into their nature. You can practice in order to turn these bits of garbage into flowers. It is not only your love that is organic; your hate is, too. So you should not throw anything out. All you have to do is learn how to transform your garbage into flowers.Read More
There is a strange clarity to madness, one in which everything is twisted around. When I was a child, my mother went through a period in which she went 'wild' according to my father, served him with divorce papers, and gave him full custody of me. For years, I wondered why. Whenever I asked her, she said it was because she loved me and knew that I would live a better life with him. Her explanation never made sense to me -- all the other children whose parents had divorced lived with their mothers, not their fathers. It seemed selfish for her to leave me with him, so that she could be free and live life childless however she wanted. It sounds like a simple thing when put into words like this, but I felt a lot of pain over the loss of her throughout my adult life. Never being a recipient of a mother's love does something to a person. There is always an emptiness, a guardedness.Read More
There was a moment early in my recovery in which I looked into Simon's eyes and felt so much unconditional love that I was moved to tears. They were tears of gratitude -- gratitude for the entire journey of my life to that moment in time, for all the joys and good things that had happened, but also the bad -- the things that hadn't gone right, the sadness and sorrows. I felt somehow I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for making it to this moment, gratitude for the light that had carried me through to this life ahead.Read More
Grief is something I’m not sure we ever really get over: the loss is always there, forever a part of our lives. Feelings of grief come and go, but over time we learn to live with them, learn to thrive again in the space of it.
In the early days of my grief, I often felt as if I were in the midst of ruins, standing in their falling embers. An entire world had been destroyed and I could see all the remnants of the life we had created. As more time passes, I begin to venture farther from the ruins, but always returning, always circling back to be among their midst.Read More
I've been reading a lot lately and came across the following two passages that I found quite powerful. I spent most of my life always focused on what was next--I'd graduate, then go on fellowship, then have a baby, then I'd get this job, then I'd advance to another... I was always thinking that happiness was around the corner, so much so that I missed it. I missed it in the moments of solitude. I missed it in the beauty of sipping tea. I missed the look in my loved one's eyes. After my divorce and health crisis, I realized that sooner or later we are going to die, and all we have in life are these moments in which we are present, alive.Read More
The best way I can describe living with Bipolar is that it is like living with cancer. Bipolar is a beautiful monster, albeit a deadly one -- one which, if left untamed, has no qualms about consuming you alive. It is an illness that must be faced and fought back each day to prevent greater progression and malignancy. Some days are easier than others. But the potential for illness recurrence is always there. I say this not to discourage anyone with Bipolar or to make light of cancer, but instead to highlight the grave seriousness that treatment and self care for Bipolar must hold.Read More