Is it your future or your past you fear most?
I suppose that depends on whether we suffer nightmares, where our past revisits us clothed in hideous glory; where we run, but cannot escape our mistakes and the consequences; where the events behind us play out before us with tragic inevitability.
Then we might fear the past, because the past is our present day to day.
Or perhaps we have made a peace, however uneasy, with our past. We all make mistakes. We would all have done things differently if only we had known... And then the mistakes would simply have been different ones. So our mistakes, and the choices we made that were not mistakes but wise decisions, and just pure luck, have brought us to where we are now, the present.
For some of us it is the future we fear. A future of aging; of losing health, independence, quality of life; losing loved ones.
Some of us have lived with a mental health condition for as long as we can remember, and this brings its own specific fears.
Before my diagnosis of bi-polar, I had no particular fear of the future, because every time I crashed and burned on the cycle it was a new experience. I never once thought, "Oh, here we go again!" I just wondered why I was ill this particular time, and why I didn't seem to be able to go more than two years without some kind of debilitating illness (I have written before of the myriad diagnoses I had before my current GP, intelligent saint that she is, correctly identified what was going on).
Now it is a different story. Research into bipolar disorder suggests that this is a condition that worsens with age and my own observations and records (thank you Moodscope) suggests that is true at least in my own case.
So its unlikely things will get better. My highs are getting higher, and the troughs more frequent, and deeper.
It's not exactly fear for the future, but it is concern.
My siblings and I have all made a pact that we will not end our lives by suicide. We know this is a real issue for us and that we have to take appropriate steps to manage things if that particular spectre begins to haunt us with his cold and twisted logic.
We have GPs who know us well. We have overcome our reluctance to take drugs, because hey – the drugs work; if not perfectly, then better than trying to cope without. We have created support networks. We hope it will be enough.
We are shoring up our defences, stockpiling the sandbags, taping over the vulnerable windows. We are doing all we can. We are taking responsibility for the future.
And the future becomes the present, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Then it slips into the past.
And the past cannot hurt us - unless we succumb to the nightmares.
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site: