World Bipolar Day

31 Mar

Bipolar Awareness Ribbon big

So I totally forgot about World Bipolar Day yesterday.  Because, you know….I was busy being bipolar and whatnot.  It’s hard being bipolar.  A full time job with unwanted overtime.

I have the dreaded Bipolar I diagnosis.  (That would be the bad one.)  I’d say there are no benefits to this mental illness, but I’d be lying.  Most of us are extraordinarily gifted in some creative field.    When we’re manic, our bodies and minds don’t require much sleep.  We become faster, stronger, smarter, more clever.  It’s the closest thing to being super-human that a human being can experience.  It’s also the reason a lot of people stop taking their meds.  They miss this aspect of themselves.

I miss this part of my illness every single day.  I spent years chasing that high. But the window to this genius is very small.  Actual physical and intellectual strength become imagined and diminished.  Yet within this very small window brews a tempest.  Lives are destroyed.  Lifetimes of accomplishments are reduced to rubble.  The devastation we leave in our wake is unimaginable.  Sadly, it’s not us who suffers, it’s those around us.  Our suffering comes much later.  And that suffering is what drives some of us to escape this world.  Others fall into a trench of depression that lasts months, if not years.  We lose our friends.  Sometimes our families.

I’m not talking about depression.  I’m talking about Depression.  With a capital “D”.  And I don’t mean Dallas.  It’s debilitating.  Bills go unpaid, cars are repossessed.  In extreme cases, homes are lost.  We’re unable to move or feed ourselves without the help of someone else..  It’s not uncommon for someone with no support to be hospitalized due to malnutrition and dehydration while in the throws of depression.  You must be thinking, “Seriously, dude?  It can’t possibly be that bad.”  Oh.  You have no idea.

But I figure it’s easier to embrace the crazy instead of denying it.  Even though I sometimes feel like a chemically altered human being, I know it’s for the best.  For  myself AND the ones who care about me.  So now I speak out.  I get involved.  I participated in an intense study through Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that led to them discovering the genetic DNA link to bipolar.  I won Astra Zeneca’s national essay contest detailing my struggles and recovery.  I was published in Louise Hay’s book, “Modern Day Miracles”.  All of this was done while I was manic.  Albeit a muted manic due to the head meds.  The best advice I can give is learn to ride the waves.  Accept that what goes up must come down.

Most importantly, don’t be ashamed.  Tell your story, create a work of art, compose music, keep a journal.  Create something you can be proud of.  Wanna know where I learned this?  I learned it behind two sets of locked doors, in a psych ward, playing the board game “Life” with a kleptomaniac, a schizophrenic priest and a pathological liar.  By the time they called “Lights out”, the klepto had returned all the blue stick people, the priest blessed us in lieu of condemnation and the liar finally confessed to over-salting other patient’s food when they weren’t looking.  He even turned over his personal stash of salt & pepper packets.  And me?  I accepted my mental illness.  Out loud.

We all turned in for the night feeling pretty gosh darn proud of ourselves.  We all were the same.  And hunny, there’s no shame in that.

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “World Bipolar Day”

  1. therealgirlfriday March 31, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    Very brave of you to put this out there. I don’t suffer from BiPolar but I know it’s dehabilitating and dangerous. Take your meds and go forth in this world. Your genius is still in there. You just have to tap it in a safer way. XO

    Like

  2. 53pagordon April 1, 2016 at 9:09 am #

    Great article! I hate the fact that you have to deal with this everyday! Thanks for helping me become more educated about this disease. I love you for YOU…your sensitivity, caring and “unpredictable” spirit, as well as your amazing giftedness of creativity; writing, art, baking – whatever you put your hands on! I’m proud to be your mother!

    Like

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