One of my guilty TV pleasures is a British Comedy called
“Red Dwarf”, and another is an Adam Sandler comedy movies. Both these things take me away for a bit out of the present and into a funny place where I can laugh and feel safe.
So this weekend I rented an Adam Sandler movie, "Click", on DVD. I had wanted to see it when it came out in theatres, but never got around to it. The story in a nutshell is nothing new, stressed man gets a universal remote control that makes him fast forward the boring parts of his life. Unfortunately, he also used it to fast forward the good parts of life, like the entire weekend, so he could work on a project and get that promotion. So while he is working in real time on the promotion, he is living his life on fast forward. Stick with me, the movie does work!
Of course there is the standard epiphany, straight out of something an angel like Clarence would give- Adam Sandler realizes he has fast forwarded 30 or 40 years of his adult life up to the moment when he dies. (you cannot fast forward that!). And he realizes he has missed out on his children growing up, his wife becoming dissatisfied and subsequently divorcing him. (In hindsight, maybe it’s a GOOD thing not to recall your divorce!).
His dying words to his son, who has become just like him, another work-aholic, is “Family comes first”.
Of course, there is a twist, and I don’t want to ruin this for anyone, but this movie, much like my favorite holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, is that something happens to you to show you that you really do have a good life and are valuable.
But believing it is another thing. And realizing that your family does come first again, is another thing.
Over the years I have whinged at psychiatrists, therapists and support groups that I wish I had an angel like Clarence who would show me I had a wonderful life. That every time I was on the brink of ending it all, Clarence would say “Susan, don’t! You have a wonderful life!”
This illness has robbed me of one thing- parts of my life. Like the Adam Sandler movie, I have chosen to fast forward when my life has gotten to hard for me to handle. My fast forward is called SLEEP. I have been guilty of hyper sleep, and when I don’t know what to do, I will seek the comfort of a good 4-hour nap. And by doing this, I believe I have slept more than the standard 1/3rd of my life away. I think I am up to a higher fraction. Maybe 40-45 percent. Life I cannot get back, life I have lost by not living it. Time I did not spend with my parents. Time I could have been doing volunteer work, going for walks to loose weight, reading or taking adult ed courses to keep my brain active. Even a second job when the money was tight. I chose the easy way out, by sleeping.
Don’t get me wrong. Sleep is important. But not when you don’t need it, not as a mean as escaping, not when it is taken over spending time with your family because you don’t want to.
One of the things someone I use to know said, that once we feel better we need to take control of our lives, then we MUST work on recovery. We cannot think the meds, whether you take them or not, are going to do all the work. I am a member of AA- with a 14th anniversary sobriety date as of this past September. I know every day I must work at this, and recovery from my bipolar is just the same. I cannot wait for Clarence to stop me and say I have a wonderful life. I have to eliminate the middleman, and live it myself. It's hard. I just want, I just want Clarence at the end to tell me I did have a wonderful life. But you know, in the end, Clarence isn't going to tell me that. The only one that will tell me that is me. I have to believe I am wonderful again.