Still the Best I Can Be

the best i can be
This weeks Throwback Thursday is from April 29, 2013, which was titled “The Best Bradley I Can Be.” Today I’m still striving so it all applies except that I’m no longer taking classes. It was such a struggle and I wasn’t being successful that both my pdoc and my therapist requested that I drop out. They both suggested I replace school with writing full time. A very good replacement.

The Best Bradley I Can Be

I’ve had many good things in my life. I have much to be grateful for. However, life has been hell. The confusion, memory loss, insecurities, manic episodes, depressive episodes and all the negative self talk made for some miserable times.

I was relieved when I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Finally it had a name. Finally, many things in my life could be explained. Finally I found out that, yes, I am crazy, however, I am not entirely insane. Thank God for better living through chemistry and therapy. I’m healthier and happier. Unfortunately, I’m not “fixed,” and, unless some miracle drug is developed, I never will be.

Today, and everyday, I will be the best Bradley I can be. My only problem is that I don’t know what that is. What is the best Bradley? Who is the best Bradley? Can the best Bradley drive a car? Can the best Bradley attend classes? Can the best Bradley go to work? My doctors have given me the green light on two of those: driving and school. I’d like to think I can do more. Sadly, I’m not so sure I’m capable. Currently I’m thinking that even school may be more than I can handle.

Should I be attending college right now? Well, my doctors gave me the ok, but weren’t 100% sure it was time. It hasn’t been going well. I’ve dropped so many classes that currently I’m on academic suspension. Basically that means I need to do well this semester or I’m out of there. That thought alone continually triggers my anxiety, therefore, making it hard for me to focus, therefore, becoming a self fulfilling prophesy.

Is it too soon? Is it too soon for me to return to work? My doctors seem to think so. I seem to think so. But, what about going back to school? What about being on numerous committees at church? Have I pushed beyond the limitations that I currently am able to handle? Have I pushed beyond the limitations that I ever will have? This isn’t normal self doubt. This is way past that. Everyone second guesses their decisions at one time or another. For someone like me it’s debilitating. Every day I have to ask myself, “Am I being the best Bradley, I can be?”

Am I happy or am I manic? Do I have the blues or am I depressed? As my pdoc said to me, “Those are the big questions.” Not real helpful there, Doc. But he’s right. Now that I am mostly centered it’s hard to judge my moods.

I have a very difficult exam tomorrow. I am not prepared for it. I have so much to study and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve had way too much distraction. Have I been procrastinating? You bet your ass I have. But it’s not the type of procrastination of the type that I just don’t feel like studying. I know that studying is not fun, I know that studying is boring, but I also know that studying is necessary to pass this exam and possibly this course. Yet, I’ve felt paralyzed. Studying was never my strong suit, so it’s not anything new. But, as my therapist says, I’m not the guy who struggled with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. I’m passed that, he says. He emphasizes that the new me doesn’t know what my potentials are. I don’t know, yet, what my abilities are.

What does the best Bradley I can be look like? I don’t know all those answers yet. It will probably take some time. Until then I’ll have to live by one simple rule: Be the best Bradley I can be right now. If I keep that rule, I’ll be okay.

16 comments on Still the Best I Can Be

  1. I’m SO glad you replaced school with writing!!! 🙂
    I’m going to be the best version of Dyane that I can be right now – you’ve inspired me!

  2. I’m also on a discovery of ‘who is the new me’. That self-doubt and the guilt, they undermine me all the time. But at least you can look back now and see how far you’ve come. And what a joy you followed you passion to write – we are all the richer for it

  3. Hi Bradley
    I’m going throwing ideas for you to take or not. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at 19 and didn’t worry about. The symptoms grew worse each year. Meds changed often to manage every symptom, when severely depressed it’s hard to dig out. I don’t know your mental health issues. I hear negative talk, negative talk towards which can keep you going in a circle. I would continue seeing Therapist if possible. My therapist helped helped me through every person I was. When I hit the bottom, I’ve have a round of ECT which has worded wonders. Many people don’t like, other a not educated. Sounds like you’re setting yourself up for failure by taking on to much. Thinking your not going to win keeps the cycle going. I understand the questions you have, to break out of where you are something has to change. It’s small steps, sit down with a T chart. You may use the chart over and over if it helps you. One side of list is what you want to be or do, It will change overtime.
    Cycling is a bad place for me, I could not function going up then three days later Manic.
    The other side of chart is what is the most important to you? There are many challenges you have to work on yourself. Now is a good time to meet with a Therapist on a regular schedule. You what to decide what is best for you, don’t let others drive your car.
    Everyone is different. I’m not a therapist,or in medical field.
    I share with a good heart. Email any time.
    Have a great day.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Melinda. Point well taken on your insights. I see my therapist twice a month and my pdoc once a month..I’m actually at Starbucks right now waiting for my pdoc appointment in 45 minutes. I’ll drop you a message later today.

      1. Hi Bradley
        I didn’t mean to offend you or share what you didn’t asked for. I’m beaten to the grown in pain from Lyme. I lost my value and what do I offer. It was a cry like a baby session. It’s hard on the marriage. It’s hard to stop what you love and trade it for sleep and many pain pills.
        I’ll get it together, write a post and see what happens.

        1. You’re very kind, Melinda. You didn’t offend me in any way. Being a blogger, I expect and welcome any and all comments as long as they aren’t a direct attack on me or any other commenters. My response to your comments were really to assure you that I was doing fine. I think your comments were sweet.

          I hope you will continue to comment. I look forward to them.

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