Coming to Terms with Missed Opportunities

Lynne Taetzsch Health Guide
  • There tends to be a lot of creativity among those of us with bipolar disorder, which can lead to great things. Unfortunately, we may also miss out on great things because of the effects of being bipolar. When I was a young girl, I wanted to grow up to be the best artist in the world. A friend of mine expected to have a great career as a musician, and even did for a while. But a severe depression knocked her out of the loop.

    It can be very painful to think that you missed the opportunity to be a great artist, musician, actor or writer. In fact, thinking about such things often makes us even more depressed and less able to pursue our dreams. For years and years I berated myself for always getting sidetracked from my dream. It’s true I had to work at other jobs to support myself, and I had a daughter to raise, most of the time as a single mother. It’s also true that the chance for anyone to make it as an artist is difficult at best.
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    But there were opportunities I let pass by. My bipolar nature did not make me suited to sticking with one thing and pursuing it until completion. I jumped from place to place, school to school, job to job and career to career. Time passed, and the next thing I knew, I was way too old to be considered an “upcoming young artist.” That thought REALLY made me depressed.

    Fortunately, as I grappled with this thought after retiring from teaching at the university and finally having time to paint full time, I came to a different realization. I was still healthy. I had the opportunity to paint, and there were people out there who loved my work. Why not simply enjoy doing what I love to do and forget about the “big dream?” There were so many things I could take pleasure in. Why waste any more time feeling bad about what I hadn’t accomplished?

    My musician friend is thinking about a new career. She is still young (compared to me, anyway) and has many options. She prefers not to attempt to reach the once-successful place she had before, but to try something new. The important thing is that we make peace with ourselves and find a way to enjoy our creativity without blaming ourselves for not achieving what we had once dreamed of.

    Find information about treatment for bipolar disorder, and share your stories in the message boards.

Published On: September 08, 2006