Controlled chaos. That was a term I coined in a previous blog post, used to describe the nature of bipolar disorder. It is a steady rhythm of ups and downs that beats to the heart of a touched spirit. But it is also a tempestuous, angry ocean with violent waves and a hair-trigger temper, its tides ready to strike at even the slightest shift of the moon.
But controlled chaos is not only a name for the condition– it is also the cure. Or rather, it is the key to keeping my mercurial moods from overtaking my life. What do I mean, then, by this funny, oxymoronic term?
My mind is at once my greatest super-power and worst enemy. It wields the strength to accomplish many great things. Left unchecked, however, my mind can turn on me. It can become a two-faced enemy, leaving me imprisoned and powerless. So how does one escape the shackles of bipolar and reap the gifts of this intoxicating, high-flying, yet crippling illness? How can one possibly live a happy and healthy bipolar life?
My solution: control the chaos. Innately, your mind cannot be trusted. It is a wild card, an unknown variable. How do you trick it into becoming your ally?
Control the chaos. Whatever variable in your life there is that can be controlled, control it. Do what you can to keep the symptoms at bay. Know your triggers, and learn how to cope with them. Take your medications religiously. Surround yourself with a reliable support system. Never miss therapy appointments. Schedule every minute of every day to maintain the structure. Keep your room tidy. Live with order and discipline. For discipline is what will ultimately set your mind free from the chains of bipolar. Discipline will give you a semblance of control over your unpredictable moods. And once you’ve conquered your environment, so too, will you be able to conquer your mind.
To my dear friends who struggle with bipolar disorder: you are loved. You are worthy. You can absolutely live a happy, healthy, prosperous, successful life with bipolar. And no, that is not a paradox. The key is simply maintenance. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. Do what you can to control the symptoms. This is an art form that takes many people a lifetime to master. Heck, my journey towards control has only just begun. But once you know yourself well enough to get stable– that’s when the true potential of your mind can be unleashed. That, my friends, is when you are truly set free.