Today is World Bipolar Day, a day when we respect all those who live with this illness. I wanted to make this post a good one, one worth your time to read, so I thought the best thing I could do is explain my illness from the inside out.
I was diagnosed in the fall of 2008 when a smart psychiatrist asked all the right questions to come up with the right answer. I didn’t know much about bipolar disorder. I knew it included mood swings; that’s about it. So I did my research and read my books and asked questions and joined a support group and went to therapy and went to psychiatry appointments and took a ton of medications.
I was diagnosed as ultra-rapid cycling bipolar disorder type 1 -(at the time, treatment resistant) which means that my moods can change in a matter of hours. (Scary, I know). I learned that for me depression equaled aggression and had a broken windshield to prove it. I learned what the word “sad” really means. I learned the term “elated.”
That first year was a roller coaster and I am blessed that my parents and my family and a few close friends stuck with me through it because it was ugly.
But I know now that you can come out on the other side relatively “normal.” With a combination of the right medications and the right cognitive behavioural therapy and a lot of hard work, I can be sane.
Bipolar disorder has ruined a lot of good things in my life and I guess I should be resentful. But it has also taught me about real love and forgiveness and for that I am grateful.
As a mental health advocate and blogger, I have met quite a few amazing individuals with mental illness who fight their battles and, for the most part, win.
I guess if I had to pick the thing I hated the most about my illness, it would be the stigma attached to it. People don’t trust me. People are selective as to what they share with me because I am “sick and fragile.” I just wish it was the same between me and you. That the “normals” and the “mentally ill” were treated equally; fairly. And if not, that a little more kindness would be shared with the “mentally ill,” because we need it. Our lives are hard enough.
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net