There are a couple of people I REALLY, REALLY do not like. That ex-bestfriend in high school who slept with my boyfriend. I also don’t think fondly of the boyfriend who abused me. Surprised? I didn’t think so. I don’t want to ever see them again. I don’t ever want to talk to them again. I don’t ever want to hear from them again. They hurt me. They hurt me badly. I wish I had never known them, regardless of whatever I “learned” from the relationships, because, quite frankly, my heart would have been a little better off and in the end. I wouldn’t have to look back with heartbreak tucked in there somewhere.
But however much I despise them, I do not wish my mental illnesses on them – especially being beautifully bipolar. It is so freaking hard sometimes. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I have gone through in the past 11 years, let alone my life with depression and self-harm before that diagnosis.
Don’t get me wrong, I have come a FAR way from how I felt when I was first diagnosed. Back then I was filled with shame and embarrassment. I didn’t want anyone to know I was crazy. I didn’t want anyone to know I was sick. I withdrew from life and friends and family. I hid in this secret place within myself where no one could reach me. I simply couldn’t be who I had been . Often I wished I wasw dead. If it weren’t for my new puppy I don’t know that I would have made it through that time. She gave me a reason to get out of bed. She gave me responsibility. She gave me a purpose.
I’ve written a memoir that is in the process of being published. I am currently looking over proofs. Exciting, right? The other day I was talking to my mom about it and she said, “Do you realize how far you have come in 9 years?” And she is right. For those first two years my illness and I hibernated from everyone else. No one really knew what was going on with me except for those very close that I chose to share what was going on with me. That number was a very limited few.
But about 2 years after my diagnosis of being beautifully bipolar, I came out of the crazy closet. I wrote a blog explaining what I lived with, what that meant for me, and how I hoped that people would stick around and love me still as they always had.
I couldn’t sleep the night after I posted that, worrying how people – my friends, would react. There was an outpour of love and understanding and compassion, so much so that it brought tears to my eyes. All this time I had been hiding my illness when I was accepted.
I’ll be honest, some people couldn’t handle it. They are no longer a part of my life because they chose to bow out, not because I pushed them away. That part sucked. That part brought hurt once again. But I couldn’t really blame them. There is such a thing as stigma and some people can’t get over that, and though I wish I could stomp stigma out, I am afraid we have miles to go before that is over with.
So back to my wishes. Being beautifully bipolar is a roller coaster ride. I feel like diagnosis is especially frustrating because I have Bipolar 1 with psychosis and am a rapid cycler. It is impossible to know how I will feel from one hour to the next, from one day to the next. Sometimes I don’t think I can l ive the rest of my life like this. I mean, 50 more years of cycling. Oh my goodness. How will I manage a life such as this when I also have three additional mental health disorders?
I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I have felt. The initial shame. The hiding of secrets. Being dumped by friends and therapists. As much as I dislike those people in my past, I do not want them to have to go through it. I do not want them to be beautifully bipolar.
If you are beautifully bipolar, do not be ashamed. Do not hide your illness like I did for 2 years. Come out of the “bipolar closet” and see what happens. I promise it won’t be as bad as you think. You are amazing fighting your battle. I am with you.