Those are the words from my doctor. To her, it may be nothing but a medical term said to another confused, questioning patient. To me, it means clarity. It means finally making sense of all the days I felt weird about myself. It means finally understanding the scary heights of bizarre joy and excitement followed by the crippling sadness and agony. It means finally finding the name to call the monster living inside me all of these years.
It took me a few days to accept it. Maybe the doctor was wrong. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe I should just let it go and live life as if everything is normal. However, normal will never be defined by days spent lying on the bed, shaking, crying and worrying about things that I cannot control. It is not defined by sleepless nights, trying to grasp the emptiness inside my stomach, or by days when I feel so much better and do things that may destroy me.
Looking back, it feels like the puzzle pieces are finally fitting together.
I remember having too much energy that I cannot even sleep, the months when I am so inspired to write and create, or even join organizations that I will stop attending after a month or two. I remember chewing more than I could ever put in my mouth, using all of the hype inside my system to satisfy a never-ending urge. I remember the feeling of confidence as if I am climbing the highest peak in the world.
And after that, the fall.
The days will start to get dark. My usual good mood dampened. My high energy will be replaced by afternoons when my mom will ask me to get out of bed. I will stop seeing my friends. I will refuse to finish the projects that I started. My confidence will be wiped clean. I will become a scared little girl who’s afraid of the world.
And then one day, I would feel good again.
This is the pattern.
I learned to accept it as a part of who I am. I build myself up, I crumble down, and I put myself together again. I learned to always reinvent myself because I am always dealing with broken pieces. And so when the doctor told me its name, it felt like everything finally made sense.
It is a painful process. It is a roller coaster ride with the endless loops of self-pity, medication, and questions from people who know nothing about my mental state.
But honestly, I am slowly learning how to build my home in this realization.
I am bipolar.
I am bipolar.
But it doesn’t define me.
My diagnosis tagged me as mentally ill, but it is also the start of my recovery.
I am taking my pills, and they are helping me to stabilize my moods. I am going out, talking with friends, and spending time with my family. For the longest time, I am feeling okay.
Meeting bipolar disorder face to face helped me to realize that I am not my illness. With the right support and awareness, I have the power to define who I am. I have the power to control my mind and my life.