New Blog this Month from Henrietta Ross!
As I recall somewhat hazily, nine months ago I decided to take a break from writing. Initially it was only going to be for a few short months. Just enough time to steady my increasingly chaotic moods, have some much needed time to myself and to enjoy more of my now habitual and delightful long ponderings - preferably whilst drinking a nice hot cups of tea and trying to muster some self control over the heavenly packet of biscuits, that were coyly looking at me, with their mesmerizing eyes.
Well that was the aim, though I am not sure, it went as smoothly and as pleasingly as I had imagined!
May was the month that I took a break, and unbelievably, may was also the month that my birth mother walked into my life!
I had been searching, intermittently at times, for fourteen years for my birth family and I had often thought that my attempts to trace her would be futile. Thoughts of her no longer being alive plagued my mind, as did thoughts of her not wanting to reunite, not wanting a relationship of any kind. However, alongside this were also my own fears and anxieties that caused me to stop and start my attempts at finding her, the great vast unknown and possible devastating rejection serving to create a whole host of difficult and terrifying emotions, which I predictably ran from.
Though I still searched and through a wonderful woman, who gives of her time to reunite adopted adults with their birth families, I was reunited!
It would take too much time to go into detail about what happened but what is important is that for six months, we did have a relationship and my birth mom was a very real and much loved part of my life.
Many adopted adults hope for a reunion and through the interventions of loving and committed search angels, many who work without charge and the advent of social networking sites, it is becoming increasingly easier to be reunited. The day that one is reunited is not only a momentous day but it is also the beginning of a journey, a journey that will take you to places emotionally that you never imagined and ultimately one that is unpredictable and unknown, one that has its own trajectory and it is up to us to see where it takes us.
I met her in May and in November; I walked away, six months to the day that I had found her.
So what else happened last year?
I also left my partner of five years in October of last year, though we had those years behind us and had been through many experiences together, though we both had Bipolar Disorder and shared an understanding of mental illness and though we loved and cared about each other, ultimately we had grown apart. It took me a long time to admit the truth to myself. One of the biggest reasons for this was fear; fear concerning how one delivers the news that they want to leave the relationship, fear of how he would cope with the news and how he would cope with our separation, even more worryingly so as he had Bipolar Disorder, fear of how he would cope with out me.
As it turned out, when the fateful day arrived, he took the news extremely well much to my own astonishment. Of course, it was difficult, devastating, painful, and not just for him might I add but he seemed to accept the inevitable and with dignity mired with sadness, he left my life. All the fears that I had, especially concerning him becoming ill were apparently unfounded and he has been able to move on, busily creating a new life for himself. He was always someone who lacked incentive or the motivation to make changes, to try new things, to push himself, to interact with others, but since our separation, he has pushed himself in many areas, has began to enjoy life again and make those all important changes. Most importantly, he is happy and that is all I can ever ask for!
Two years ago, I met someone on line who over time was to become what I can only describe as my best friend. He was a Buddhist, which was always going to be incredibly attractive as I am one myself, he was incredibly intelligent (brains drive this girl wild), knowledgeable, articulate, refreshingly direct, opinionated, compassionate, full of empathy, funny and all together a wonderful man and friend to have. A friend I came to eventually fall madly in love with!
That was two years ago - In November of last year, we finally both plucked up the courage to be honest with each other and a few weeks later, we met in person for the first time. Thanks to the courage we both showed, we are now officially together and I am looking forward to becoming his wife in the very near future.
Last year was an incredible year, one that I will never forget.
What I learnt was this;
Life may be going along, in the usual mundane, uneventful way, and though you may have a sense of security from this familiarity, which includes knowing your partner will always be there, is this enough?
Fear needs to be faced head on; often over time, we become more inhibited by the fear itself, than what we were originally afraid of. It is not always easy but it is do-able! Change can be frightening, but to choose not to is a decision in itself. Is it the right one?
I was worried about how my partner would react to the ending of our relationship and it was this primarily kept me stuck. We can spend days, months, years even contemplating how someone is going to react, how he or she will cope, how they will manage. We can run through endless scenarios and possibilities but the bottom line is; we do not know and the only way we will find out is by doing what we fear and reacting appropriately to the outcomes, if and when they happen. As long as do we things compassionately and gently, we have nothing to feel regret or guilt over.
Sometimes we are so wrapped up in how others will react, that we miss the bigger picture. Is your partner happy? By leaving, are you giving both of you the gift of freedom? Maybe separating is the best thing for both of you, but you are both stuck, in fear mode? One of you needs to take the plunge, for both of you.
Two people can have Bipolar and though from the outside this may appear as a match made in heaven, after all, you share the same illness, you understand mania and depression, and you have an understanding of all the subtle nuances of the disorder. You know how to be around someone who is depressed and what may help, you know what is to be hypo -manic or in a manic state and how to ride that out with them, but all of this knowledge only works in the context of how the other person copes, manages and takes responsibility of their own illness. Without proper management, a thorough education, insight into our own particular blend of Bipolar Disorder, and the ability to grow and evolve - without an open mind and desire to try new things and acquire new skills - without an ability to see how one's illness effects those that they love - without compassion and sensitivity and empathy, we will come unstuck. It's so much that relationships work between people who share the same illness, it's more that relationships work between people who share the same values and vision. Most importantly, they work when Bipolar Disorder is not the only reason that you are together, when your life is not simply about over identifying with your illness but is more about who you are as an individual regardless of the challenges you may face.
When I was young, people were always telling me how short life was and I like most, stubbornly ignored them. When you are young, you do not imagine getting old, you cannot imagine life's years passing you by, time running out. You do not worry about regrets and how they will one day make you feel, or about opportunities that you have missed or the all-important consequences of those choices that you once made. However, now I know quite poignantly how all of these things feel and I have come to appreciate how beautiful, sacred and precious life is, too precious to waste!
Ask yourself the question and be mindful of the answers that arrive!
Oh, how is my Bipolar I hear you ask?
It’s great thank you!