Perfectly Imperfect

I was in the shower after work thinking of all I'd done in the day.

I'd made my kids' lunches and gotten them off to school. I'd worked my three hour shift of dog walking. I ate a healthy lunch. I put the laundry away in my husband and I's bedroom that had been staring at me since last week.

Then I thought about what I hadn't done today.

I didn't make it to the house to pick up a sweater I'd purchased off Facebook. I didn't walk the dog. Beside me as I type there is a stack of unopened mail that needs sorting. I was going to take my daughters to the library after school, but I bumped it to tomorrow.

But as I reflected on the ying-yang of my day, I wasn't upset. I accomplished today what I could. I didn't check all the items off my list, but I did some. I did important ones. I looked after myself and my family to the best of my ability.

I smiled to myself. I felt perfectly imperfect.

It's taken me almost three years to think this way about living with Bipolar II Disorder. When I was diagnosed in the early summer of 2014 after suffering a mental health breakdown that spring, all I could focus on was what I couldn't do. I'd had to leave my job. I could barely get off the couch. I couldn't fully look after my kids. And there's no way I could have unloaded a dishwasher or cooked a meal.

Yes I have learned about the limitations of my mental illness. But I also take time each day to celebrate what I can do. I never thought I'd work again. I thought we'd be eating frozen lasagna forever.  I imagined my kids growing up with memories of me permanently stuck on that couch in the living room.

But I did get up. I saw therapists and psychiatrists and doctors and I read everything I could about my disorder so I could learn to weave it in to the tapestry of my life. 

A new life. This perfectly imperfect life.

Carly McDougall lives in north Durham Region with her 11 and 8-year old daughters, husband and a dog. She's a part time dog walker and self-employed spiced honey maker while managing life with Bipolar II Disorder.