I seem to vacillate between two emotional extremes.

At times I honestly feel pulled to believe that I am worthless and will never amount to anything. Nothing I've ever done, or could ever do, can make up for the worthless and totally unlovable creature that I am.

And then sometimes I find myself tempted to think way too highly of myself. I look at the exact same list of things I've done as in the paragraph before, and think I'm hot stuff. Crazy amazing, or at least amazing. Who couldn't love me?

Then I step back, look at both sides, and laugh.

Wow. I have problems.

I remember reading that people who are bipolar often have feelings like mine. One day, you're crushed under an emotional bus, convinced that you're worthless and completely unable to even fend for yourself or do the things you love. On the next, you've been called by God to save the world. Maybe I wasn't reading - it could have been a counselor who told me that people with bipolar are often deluded. I think I took affront. Either way, in my in-between days I honestly believe both. I'm totally worthless, infinitely valuable, unlovable, awesome, inept, and charged with saving the world.

Which makes me wonder.

What would I be like if I hadn't had these experiences? If I hadn't grappled with suicidal depression? Gone through the agonizing self-loathing of abuse? What if I never had hypomanic highs that made me feel like Superman? Or if I had no problems getting close to people? If love had come and been returned easily within my own hopes and dreams?

I know my life would be different... But would I be a good person?

Something tells me that part of the reason, and perhaps all of it sometimes, that I am unselfish is because of my experiences. That, if I had been born to bliss, I would have been less likely to care about the world... and even if I cared, less likely to do anything about it.

And maybe that's one reason why my life is the way it is. For years, I've slowly developed the habit of trying to find meaning in life, reaching out to help people when I feel awful so that I can feel better. Empathizing with people who have gone through the same things I have. Maybe God is training me so that, someday, when my own problems are gone, I still have the habits of service. So that when the miracle has happened, I fall in love with a woman, and find a piece of my happily ever after, I'm still willing to help people find theirs. Maybe I wouldn't be the person I am today without my trials. I know I wouldn't be a blogger. And yet I am, and now I am so deeply entrenched that, even if all my problems disappeared overnight, I wouldn't.

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