Here’s A Description (That’s Actually Accurate) Of What It’s Like To Live With Bipolar Disorder

Girl staring at ocean
Fabian Blank

I wake up in the morning. My first action is to take my prescription medication sitting on my nightstand. I have not even planted my feet on the ground and I am reminded.

I would be lying to you if I told you each day was not a struggle. It is. Some days are better than others, but not a day goes by that I donʼt have to analyze my diagnosis. I am attached to my illness in such a smothering and unhealthy way.

Everyone knows someone who is “crazy” or “insane” or “psychotic.” I am very good at disguising my “crazy,” but I am the first to admit that it is there.

When others share stories about a family or friend with mental illness, or when a national news story spreads about a manic man shooting up a school, bipolar once again is in the spotlight with such a negative association. It is a confusing and misunderstood illness, to everyone on the outside looking in, and in my experience, even to the one living with it.

I spend most of my energy thinking – a lot of times about myself but also other people. I spend a lot of time analyzing my behavior, my words, my actions. There are times where I feel proud to have such a creative mind and to have the extra energy to put into things I am good at. Yet, there are times where I am in such a state of negativity about my situation that I want to give up.

Bipolar is simply defined as having periods of mania and depression and even mixed states, which I find the scariest. Bipolar is so much more than that. It is a constant battle. A battle between moods, between thoughts of who YOU are and who the illness makes you.

I sometimes forget who I am because I am so overwhelmed in what my illness makes me.

I know my triggers and I can self manage, but still I can become emotional. And when my emotions take over, I can lose control. I have learned to ask for help. I have learned to ask for advice. I have learned to do everything in my power to prevent extremes. I think what makes me the saddest is exiting a depression or a mania, looking back and feeling disappointed, helpless, misunderstood and self conscious. Having regrets.

I read the news and people with what I suffer from are killing people, robbing stores, going to jail, committing the worst of crimes. I forget to breathe. I am frightened. I have the same illness. How did it get to that point for them?

I wake up in the morning. My first action is to take my prescription medication sitting on my nightstand. I have not even planted my feet on the ground and I am reminded.

I am reminded that I need medicine. I will need it for my entire life. I am reminded that I come from a family that loves me and got me help when I needed it.

The media stresses for the public to make an attempt to understand and talk about mental illness. It’s a tough platform because it’s always been attached to such a negative stigma, which has caused many to hide or feel embarrassed.

We need to discuss it and we need to empathize.

No one without the illness will ever understand, but they can empathize and make things easier for those who suffer.

My mother once asked me: if they came up with a cure for bipolar, would I take it? Would I be excited? I answered her that I didnʼt think I would, because I am so used to my brain working the way it does. I did not think it would be comfortable and I would lose my creativity.

I have rethought my answer.

Every day I take medication. I refill prescriptions monthly. Eighty percent of my energy is used to maintain stability. Iʼve hurt those close to me without meaning to. I have rested in a dungeon’s darkness and I have flown with angels in the sky. I have avoided mirrors because my reflection lies. Ordinary people visit theme parks and ride roller coasters for fun, knowing that they can get off and then choose when and if to re-ride. I am on that roller coaster too, a prisoner with a seatbelt that will never unbuckle.

I pray for a cure. TC mark

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