Written by Graham Hooper
“Life is the hardest kind of teacher—it gives the test first and the lesson afterward.” I cannot remember the first time I read this quote but I was reminded of it again recently. It is one explanation of what makes life a struggle and painful. It is also what makes life exciting and wonderful.
Today I am feeling well and I am enthusiastic and hopeful about what lays ahead. I am able to participate in my life and I’m also able to relax. These simple pleasures eluded me for many years.
I was asked to write about concurrent disorders, more specifically about individuals who experience mental illness and a substance abuse problem. I live with both bipolar disorder and spent many years self-medicating, particularly with alcohol. As many know, there is a strong connection between the two. For me, they united seamlessly.
My mood disorder coloured my life in ways that I still find difficult to convey. The chemical imbalance in my brain altered my perspective, subsequently my personality, and even, at times, my beliefs and values. I have experienced some fantastic and wonderful feelings and sensations. At times, I felt that my perception and senses were enhanced. Everything in the world had a rhythm to it and the pieces of life fell almost magically into place. I was free to think, write, create and communicate exactly what I wanted.
These moments were fuelled by great passion and energy. Everything became brighter and somehow more vital and intense than before. I assessed risks, found solutions and succeeded at things that I probably wouldn’t have attempted otherwise. Then, as subtly as a sky clouds over, or as the wind calms, my energy and insight would evaporate.
For Graham’s full story, please click here
Topic: Concurrent Disorders