Today is the first World Bipolar Day, formed by the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder, the International Bipolar Foundation, and the International Society for Bipolar Disorders. The goal is to educate people about the disorder and resources available.
So, what does World Bipolar Day mean to me? I guess it is another chance to reflect on what being beautifully bipolar means to me.
It means medication. Lots of medication. More than I wish I had to take. Trial and error. I am a human guinea pig. Swallow this. Let’s inject that. Something’s gotta work! Alas, I am stable – for today.
It means true friendships. Friends that know about the cutting. Friends that call me in the psych ward. Friends that bring me pictures of better times. Friends that go out of their way to let me know I am worthy of life and of love. Friends that remember the anniversary of my suicide attempt and send me a present in the mail on the first anniversary. Friends that are there for the 2 am phone calls, who know the signs of my mania and the beginning of my depressions.
It means hospitals and staff in scrubs. Puzzles missing pieces and baskets of crayons. Jello and stale PB&J. Psychiatrists that don’t know me. New friends with different diagnoses. Visiting hours. GLORIOUS VISITING HOURS! Plastic mattresses. Cold blankets. Long days. Longer nights.
It means support groups. Learning you aren’t alone. Feeling accepted. Feeling free to share.
It means therapy. So. Much. Therapy. “It’s amazing you’re so insightful,” she says. “Well,” I reply, “I’ve been doing this a while.” She is the person I talk to who I know isn’t just listening but really hears me. I hate going. I appreciate going. I wish I didn’t have to go, but I am sick and it is for the best.
It means mania – hours, days, weeks – when I am amazing and want to share my brilliance with the world. I am reckless. I am creative. I am sexy. I am out of my mind.
It means depression – hours, days, weeks, months – when I am suffering a kind of pain that is too big for words so I stop speaking. Everything is heavy and dark. There is no more light, like there is no more laughter.
It means hope – that tomorrow can be a better day, that there will be no more yesterdays. It is a hope in that medication and therapy. It is a hope handed over to my psychological team. It is a hope buried in the love of my friends and family.
It means knowing that mania and depression will come BUT that mania and depression will again go, that what feels like forever isn’t really forever. It is temporary. It means knowing that if I’ve handled it once, I can handle it again.