Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

Never, never, never quit.—Winston Churchill

If you are living on the downside of advantage, and are relying purely on courage, it can be done.—Russell Crowe, Oscar Speech for GLADIATOR

Haters are motivators.—Kyle Busch

Today I graduate. October 1999 I suffered my first emotional breakdown which led to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder. In October of 2000 as the doctors sought to stabilize me with a drug cocktail, the process, coupled with being fired from Children’s World because I suspected a young girl was being abused, threw me into a manic episode which led to a second breakdown.

Now, almost fifteen years later, stable and in recovery, I am proud to say I am simply under medical monitoring. I will continue seeing Dr. Rebek for check-ups and evaluations, but my team of brilliant physicians and therapists say I am ready to leave the nest and should a crisis arise I am more than welcome to return to the therapy fold.

Honestly, with the bullshit I live through every day I wonder if leaving the protective fold of therapy is such a good idea. But it’s been fifteen years. I still have nightmares to some degree but they are no longer as intense or as many as they have been in the past.

Oh don’t get me wrong I still dream in Technicolor and there are still nights when I’m watching Cowyboys and Aliens and wishing there was a hero out there for me. But if therapy and treatment has taught me anything it’s that recovery and balance are possible.

Recovering from an emotional breakdown is truly the hardest work I’ve ever put into anything (except maybe that marathon I ran in January of 1999). Putting myself back together has been no easy feat and there are those around me who deserve a great deal of credit.

Let me start with the person at the top of the list, Missy Goodman. What started out as a writing partnership has turned into probably the best friendship I’ve ever had. When I fell apart she was the kind of friend most people only dream about. If I could choose family it  would be her at the front of the line.

We’ve withstood a lot. From each other and those around us. Now, whenever I need someone to have my back I know I can depend on her more so than anyone else. The term walking through the fire applies directly through her as I’ve not always been a cake walk. In all honesty I’m still not, but with friends like Missy I know that when I come through something I won’t have to survive my surroundings, but that I can get down to the business of living.

Then there’s the group itself. I’ll keep them anonymous in name, but they have been a great source of support as well. Often I am, believe it or not, cheerful, bubbly, and positive. It’s just there are those around me who drain on that. These people, like Missy have seen me at my best and at my worst. I leave nothing but best wishes and knowing that should need arise the grous is there for me to return to.

Given the dramatics of the last few days I am happy for a day of celebration like today. And here’s what I like about the quotes.

As an endurance runner in the past I knew if I just kept putting one foot in front of the other I would make it to the finish line. I never quit and that I had the courage at all to start was huge. Finishing was just the cherry on top of a really cool sundae. So I never quit.

I cried the first time I heard Russell’s speech. And again every time I see it again on youtube. Because you see sometimes I feel like courage is the only thing I have.

As for the haters being motivators? All successful people have people I suppose who don’t like them and resent them for having a taste of success. I can’t worry about those people. They’re too busy wallowing in their own resentment and unhappiness for me to worry about. I wish they saw life the way I did, with infinite possibilities. But some are trapped in a very dark way of thinking. So when people hate me, or complain about me I tell myself—work a little bit harder. Reach a little bit higher. Because in the grand scheme of things haters only hurt themselves and have nothing to do with me. Those that resent  me and the way I do things? That’s on them. Not on me.


Amy McCorkle

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