Hi. I am ElainaJ and I have bipolar 1 with psychosis. That means that sometimes I see or hear things that aren’t really there. I do not have schizoaffective disorder. I do not have schizophrenia. I have bipolar 1 – with psychosis. A lot of people don’t know that people with bipolar disorder can experience hallucinations. Well, we can. Not all the time, often this occurs during mania. I think, for me, it is another repercussion of stress, something I am apparently inept at handling. I am taking a new medicine and seem to be stuck back in reality (which is a good thing).
I have bipolar 1. Sometimes I am very sad. Sometimes everything makes me sad – past, present, and future. Sometimes I fall into this abyss of darkness I can’t see the lit way out of. Some days I stay in bed all day. Some days I can’t even sum up the energy to brush my teeth. The toothbrush is too heavy and the motion requires an energy I don’t have. Sometimes I just don’t give a shit – about you or me or anything. I am numb. All of these things happen in the “low” part of depression.
In the “high” part of bipolar 1 I can be amazing – or so I think. I believe I am wonderful. Smarter than everyone else. More interesting than anyone else. I feel that any attention there is should be focused on me. They call this a feeling of “grandeur.”
During this high period I don’t believe in danger. So what if the sign says the speed limit is 45. I am going to go 110 mph. So what if I am sitting on a third story roof at 2 in the morning. I like it up there. I just don’t care! I do what I want to do how I want to do it. I barely sleep. I am energized. Like I said, I am amazing.
But here is the secret about bipolar disorder – we are not always low or high, sometimes we are just plugging along in this life like everyone else. We pay our bills. Some of us work. We get in fights with our boyfriends. We call our grandma. We make dinner. We are “normal.” And how normal and how often we are normal is different for everyone with bipolar disorder.
There is this thing called being “stable.” Right now, I am stable. I am on a fine combo of meds and I can get things done. I can concentrate. I can sleep. I can be a good friend, daughter, sister. I like stability almost as much as I love the euphoria of mania. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want to be the most amazing person in the world? 😉
So yeah, I have bipolar 1 with psychosis. I also have green/brown eyes. I also have a dog. I also paint my nails pink. I also am 5’3″. I am many, many things. My mental illness is just a part of who I am, not ALL of who I am.
Having bipolar disorder has opened doors for me – provided opportunities for me to stand up and say, “I am not so scary. Don’t be frightened.” It led me to Psych Central. It led to a podcast. It led to a memoir. I wouldn’t be me without mental illness, and that is okay.
I hope that today, on World Bipolar Day, you can share your story with someone, diminish some ignorance. I am proud of who I am. I love who I am, bipolar and all.
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net