I’ve mentioned before how every memory from my early childhood seems tinged with gold. As if everything was glittering and perfect. I can honestly say that aside from some verbal fights between my parents, I don’t remember a lot of anything bad until the age of 8 or 9.
When things started going downhill, it was easy then for me to become angry at my new greyscale life and everyone in it. I looked back at those shining years and couldn’t understand how everything had blown up so suddenly.
I didn’t know how to pay Homage to the past while also looking forward to my future. I didn’t know that I could appreciate what I had been given in those years and still move in a positive direction. I thought I needed to somehow wrestle some part of that gold back.
I never had Parent Trap fantasies of reuniting my parents (or if I did, they were short lived), but I did have dreams of stability, structure, the friends I had that were stripped away when I was forced to switch schools, etc. I never embraced the children at my new school or made giant attempts at friendships there, for example.
I lived in that past into my twenties. Angry, bitter, unwilling to trust anyone enough to form new friendships that really mattered to me, I plowed along.
Finally, mania struck and dropped all of those barriers for me. Not everything about this illness is terrible because I did start down the path of some amazing friendships. One with a man who became like a platonic big brother to me until he passed almost three years ago, and one who is still really one of my closest friends even though I hardly see her. I could call her now and tell her I am headed to visit and she would be nothing but happy.
Other long term friendships formed and faded in time as those things do even though we keep in touch, but the hypomania/mania did open the door. I can’t be mad about that part of things. Those friends have stuck by me through many episodes since and I love them all.
It took a dramatic and really life-altering episode though to help me to break some of the bonds of that anger. I had anger towards my parents as well. Age and life experience also played a role in helping me to gain perspective I suppose.
In any case, it has been one of the most important things that I have learned: It’s okay to love your past, but you don’t have to be trapped there because it can keep you from moving forward.
I am not always great at applying that lesson to other things, and I’ve seen that pattern repeat in my life, but I’m getting better. That’s all I can ask of myself.