I’m back in Dumaguete, back on the path that I took a detour from when I went to Cuyo. When I re-enrolled in the university, one of the teachers that I trusted enough to talk to about my bipolar disorder kept reminding me to go slow, to not take on more than I can handle. Sensible advice, I know. I understand myself and this disease well enough by now to realize that what’s easy and effortless in the hypomanic stage can become insurmountable when the depression hits, as it inevitably will, eventually.
But I can sense restlessness building inside me, an impatient tension. There is so much more that I want to do, so many things that I want to be other than a student struggling for a diploma. I want to backpack around my country, and to work abroad as a humanitarian volunteer. I want to dance again. I want to listen to the stories in my head and put them on paper. I want to go kite surfing. I want to take pictures. I want to learn bird watching and use it to raise environmental awareness. I want to plant a garden. I want to return to Cuyo and build a life there. I want.
Instead, here I am, having to take it slow.
But somewhere in this frustration is a glowing center of delight in all these desires. It feels wonderful to want something again, to have dreams that go beyond next week or next month. Before my get-away to Cuyo, all I could see were the goals I had failed to reach, the disappointments, the defeats. Exhausted and disillusioned, I could barely find the courage necessary for hope. Just getting by took all the energy I had.
Now, I have all these exquisite longings inside me, bold and insistent, pulling me toward tomorrow, daring me to do more than exist. And I’m clinging to them with both hands, clinging fast to hope and desire, because with my courage and faith restored, anything is possible. Right now, I may be taking it slow, but I’ll get there. Eventually, I’ll get there, because I dare.