Having a mental illness sucks. Believe me, I speak from personal experience. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I when I was only sixteen. After that, I was drugged with all different types of medications in order to “treat” my Bipolar Disorder. Abilify, Lamictal, Xanax, Risperdal, Azymol, and the list goes on. These all made me feel foggy and “out of it.”
This is how it’s like to be bipolar:
You feel absolutely extraordinary, and even that is an understatement. You feel such exhilaration, such delight at even the smallest pleasures in life. You wake up every day with such optimism about what the day has to offer for no apparent reason. Your self-esteem is over the roof. You feel like the most attractive human in the world. The streets feel like a personal catwalk. You also feel creative and productive. Suddenly, you have all of these amazing ideas just waiting to be worked on: a blog, a business, a painting. Your thoughts won’t stop racing. They go faster than the speed of light. You can barely process them but you attempt to tell everyone about them. Alas, most people don’t understand what you’re saying. You jump from one topic to the next. From how you could create a healthy food chain more successful than McDonalds to why telomeres shorten as you go through life. Without notice, you don’t need much sleep anymore. It’s such a waste of time anyways. You could spend it working on that new painting or composing that song you’ve been procrastinating for a while. Nothing seems dangerous anymore. Racing your car through the streets? Exhilarating. Sky-diving? Bring it on. You just want to have fun: to party with your friends, to drink champagne all day, to eat delicious and indulgent foods, to create, to travel, to meet new people, to learn, to shop. You. Can’t. Sit. Still. You spend ridiculous amounts of money. Normal you wouldn’t do this, but you can’t control yourself. It’s almost as if you’re watching yourself from the outside with no remote control. You feel sexy, and it’s empowering, but reckless too. This is all a phase, just one chapter of your bipolar illness.
“I hate myself.” “I’d be doing everyone a favor if I just went on and killed myself.” “I’m a worthless piece of shit.” You cry all day, until you feel numb and indifferent. Nothing matters. You just feel like sleeping constantly to escape the pain that living in this world brings. You feel like you just bring agony and trouble to those that matter the most to you. It wasn’t your fault! You were manic! That wasn’t you. You weren’t thinking. You swear for your life. The pain you feel inside is unbearable. Your chest aches and you feel heavy. You can’t get up from bed. Eating is a hassle, so is going to the bathroom. People think they understand what you’re going through, but they don’t. They call you selfish for feeling suicidal, when you feel like it would be a generous act on your part. Why can’t everyone leave you alone? They couldn’t possibly understand. They’re normal. Why can’t you be normal? What have you done to deserve this misery? Is this some bad karma?
From meeting people with all different types of “disorders,” whether it’s Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, OCD, or Bipolar Disorder, I know that most of us feel the same. We ask ourselves, “Why me?” continuously. Low self-esteem is rampant. No one understands. We do stupid shit and regret it immediately afterwards. We feel like a burden as loved ones often assume the role of caregivers. We’re also incredibly confused; is this me or my “illness?” However, I’d like to offer a different perspective. What if our “disorder” is actually a blessing? What if God granted us the ability to experience more than the normal rage of human emotions? What if hypomania is God’s way of helping us be creative? What if depression makes us appreciate happiness more?
Don’t feel overwhelmed by society’s expectations. They don’t know what it’s like. And you know what? They don’t know. As lonely a road as this is, I want you to know that you’re not alone. I understand, and it’s possible to win. Be strong and do not give up. I know it feels like there’s no light and like absolutely no one understands, and maybe it’s true, they don’t get it. But I do.