Constants and not so constants in life

When I was young, family and friends seemed to be a constant in my life, but little by little members seemed to disappear, either by death, by moving or living far away, because of fights, or because their lives became so complicated (or altered) that they, like me, couldn’t give of themselves much (or at all) anymore. I do have my husband. He has been a constant for me during the last 22 years. I hope he will remain a constant for as long as I live, despite being over 10 years my senior. I guess if I had had a child, they hopefully would have served as a secure constant. But I didn’t.

As a person with bipolar disorder, my moods are obviously far from constantly stable. For me, among the worst of my disability has been ever changing productivity levels. There are periods when I can hardly get out of bed, do self-care, do housework, or even properly care for my pet, let alone have a job and give enough to others. Other times I find myself approaching normal. That gives me hope. I yearn for a constant period of relief, and the ability to get back to some true “norm” in life, and increased security of other sorts. Again, that always seems to end too soon. Though manic states and “seemingly” high creativity and productivity have its allure, it’s sometimes a mirage, and a ticket to fall back to the pit in which I’ve lived before.  I know that those without mental illness have also felt the stress of unexpected and unwelcome changes and challenges, as well as losses in life. This post is also for you.

During the last 20 years I’ve seen numerous doctors and therapists. I have seen my gynecologist and GP for all of this time, but others, not as long. I’ve made decisions to switch them, some have retired, and a couple even “fired” or “quit” me, not unlike many friends. Just recently my therapist of 4.5 years announced the ending of her practice next month. I’m so sad! Tomorrow I see a new therapist. I feel like I’ll have to drag my history out of the pit of my stomach. I almost feel the same way about making new friends. My husband wants to perhaps move in a few years. If that becomes a reality, I’ll have to start all new in many respects.

I know that most people experience challenges and losses as they age. I try to hang on to what I can that is exempt from that, or exists in all places, like some hobbies that I love, nature, music, and the like. Though even they can be hard to enjoy when times are bad, they are never gone forever during our lives. We must grab on to them and never let go.

What have your constants in life been? How have they changed?

12 thoughts on “Constants and not so constants in life

  1. Easter Ellen February 20, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    I suffer also from bipolar disorder, PTSD, personality disorder and OCD. Each day has its challenges – especially when there is change, as you mention. All the best getting through it. Just one day at a time, like me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Alanna February 20, 2018 / 6:55 pm

    My constants……my writing, my artwork. Those are my anchors (besides my partner and my dogs!)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Off Your Chest blog February 20, 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Thanks for the honest and open post Alanna – I wish you the best of luck in adapting to the new changes in your life, and wish that the move (if your husband and you end up doing it) brings new and fruitful experiences.


    Off Your Chest blog

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The Boring Bug February 21, 2018 / 10:59 pm

    The true constants would be difficult to be described in words. I guess my parents are the sole constants in my life. Although ageing has definitely taken its toll.

    Liked by 2 people

    • updownflight February 21, 2018 / 11:07 pm

      Aging is very rough when it comes to constants, in many cases. I hope your other constants, though hard to describe, are ones that give you some pleasure or other positive security.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. shatteredwishes February 22, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    My constants would have to be my family, my best friend (who I hope to spend the remainder of my days with), and of course my therapist of 11 years. He has been my one and only therapist in all my life, so when he retires, (I mean we are both getting old now), it would be a heartbreaking experience for me. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to start with a new therapist after 11+ years of therapy with my old one! Could you imagine?

    I know change is inevitable, and as we get older we will lose some of these constants, and it will be challenging to live without them . I take solace in the fact that my one and most important constant, is me, my abilities, my creativity, and the joy of what it is like to connect and make a difference in people’s lives. That will be my constant always, which I will hold close, and honestly I do worry about losing my cognitive abilities later on in life, mostly because of all the medication I have taken over the years. But, until then, I will keep fighting the good fight. Excellent post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight February 22, 2018 / 8:47 pm

      You sound like you have some wonderful constants! I hope many will stay with you forever. Let’s hope the medications are kind to us. I’m sort of hoping that as I get older my doses will be yet a bit lower.

      I mentioned recently about my therapist of 4.5 years closing her practice. I must admit I’ve been affected negatively by that. She knows it, and knows it is similar with some of her other clients. She feels bad. I told her please not to feel bad, but it is clear that she has developed a certain closeness with her clients as they have with her.

      My psychiatrist of 12 years is getting old and I severely dread the day when I will have to find another. I must confess to having a love for the man. He is like a second father. Really, I see him more than my father.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shatteredwishes February 22, 2018 / 9:08 pm

        Thank you updownflight! I really do treasure my constants, but you know, I do fear the day when they may leave me, including the ability to know myself. It’s funny, I had been a very low dosage of medication for a long time, but you know, bipolar reared its ugly manic head, and DESPITE being compliant, I went full on psychotic, and ended up in the hospital. As much as I would like to say that I hope my doses get lower, I am starting to face the reality that strong medications, and higher dosages is the only way I can maintain my sanity. But, on a good note, I am only down to two medications, besides the synthroid for my missing thyroid gland.

        Yes, you did mention your therapist’s departure, and how deeply it impacted you. I empathize, and I understand how much it hurts you and having to start over. I can imagine that she feels bad, I mean to me, I always considered my therapist to be a very deep and personal friend, but like a professional friend, you know what I mean? And so, it is totally understandable that her feelings are as strong as yours, having gotten to know you through the years, listen to your woes, hand you a tissue for your tears and metaphorically hold your hand in good and bad times.

        I know the fear of losing your psychiatrist all too well. I mean I have that fear with my therapist. I completely understand your love for him as a second father. Truth be told, I had to change psychiatrists recently, not because he did anything wrong, but because he lacked the experience of a psychiatrist that would be better suited for a complex case such as mine. He was young, and by the book, and even though I don’t fault him, my case is very much “outside of the box” in the realm of psychiatry. So my new one, (as old as he is), does expect to retire within the next 10 years, but has been more invaluable to me than the young doctor I had before.

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight February 22, 2018 / 9:15 pm

        I think that there is something a little extra special about some older psychiatrists (obviously with some exceptions). My psychiatrist not long ago announced that he “never plans to retire”. That about sent an electric charge through me in a second that caused elation. He said that he would lower his patient load, but of course keep me. But that I should know he might take more and longer vacations. I just thought that as long as he lives until he’s 100 or older I’ll be happy.

        It’s good you’re down to two psych meds, even if their doses are high. Polypharmacy can really get out of control, I know. I take four (or officially five, if you count my prn). Some doses are high, some fairly low.

        I don’t really know how low I could go without being a great risk for severe episodes. I do still have breakthrough episodes even with what I’m on, but they haven’t been severe for a while. My psychiatrist just adjusts my Seroquel XR up or down and I usually recover fairly quickly.

        Liked by 1 person

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