A Race Against the Illness: Today I Will Not Mourn the Death of My Future Self

I often mourn the death of my future self, a self that lives in integration, and whose life springs forth from how I perceive myself to be. We all have our hopes and dreams, our fantasies where all is good and well. My dreams tether me to this world of life, and that tether often frays. At times, when we see that line unravel, we lose hope or worse, grow apathetic. Sometimes we see it as a future that was never meant to be. And at other times, when we are most convicted, we welcome the unravelling and challenge it to a race.

Those with bipolar disorder live with a great sense of urgency. The symptoms of the disorder, with alternating periods of rapidity and sluggishness, change how the individual experiences time.  Time is not counted in minutes and hours, but rather, between moments of productivity and endless capacity and periods of fog that seem to stretch out into eternity.  And here, the fraying, it comes forth from the illness.  It is the disorder that we race.

At times, while pursuing our dreams, when we are so close to achieving what we’ve sweat and bled for, depression sets in and the mind goes.  The body follows with it and we become prisoners, whether it’s inside our homes or by our thoughts and fears. At other times, mania starts to silently creep and we begin to expend our energy in every direction, taking on more than we’ll ever hope to achieve.

For those of us who have experienced this again and again, we can see the signs set in. Here, we can choose to medicate, to slow down, to ease up, and chase smaller dreams. Or, we brute force our way through to our goals. We increase the medication, but work through the grogginess.  We take on the side effects, the dizziness, the shakes, and the headaches. We sacrifice the body and hold on, hold until finally we meet that marker that proves that we still have a chance to win in the end.

When some see this, they think you’re crazy or irresponsible. Some see that you are risking too much.  They worry and try to intervene.  But they don’t see that you need a win. They don’t see that sometimes you just can’t take another loss because it will kill you sooner than the disorder. I brute forced my way to a win last year and I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  But for me, I made it through and I got to my destination before that tether broke. And I mourn nothing.

-Franco Romualdez

Photo Credit to Chi Hung Cheung

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I’m a budding Marriage and Family Therapist. I’m finishing my degree in counseling after blundering halfway through law school. I work with kids and teenagers, some of which are troubled, and most of which are lost. Each and every single one of them reminds me of a piece or part of my childhood. The job can be heart wrenching, but most of the time, it reminds of the beauty in this world. I’m a husband and a father. I’m married to a lovely woman. She’s a great lady; smart and kind. I have two young kids--crazy, adorable, and ridiculously hilarious boys. I also enjoy putting pen to paper once in awhile.

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