Today is #WorldBipolarDay. In honor of this day, here’s a short stream of consciousness I wrote last month in the notes app on my phone. Enjoy this slice of my mental struggle pie:
I have bipolar. Am I bipolar? The wordage and phrasing I hate? It feels that way sometimes. But not the way the mainstream opinion describes bipolar. It’s not a mood change on a whim or at the drop of a hat and then back again.
It’s not a choice to change how you’re feeling whenever and wherever. It’s not a descriptive word for a toddler, the weather or a person.
It’s a pervasive, unpredictable grip on my mind. It’s not meeting my expectations and not knowing why. It’s sadness and it’s disappointment and it’s misery when who I think I am is not reflected back to me. It’s not realizing what’s missing or what’s changed.
It’s living in a sporadic dark cloud you never think you’ll make it out of, until you wake up the next morning fresh as a daisy. It’s being in control until you realize you’re never fully in control. It’s letting go of perfection and then racing after it once again.
So yes, bipolar is like a freak storm that pops out of the blue. The bipolar Utah weather. My mind. But the difference between my brain and a storm is what’s left when the winds die down.
My normal life is working as my anchor and my crutch. School, work, church, friends; professional dreams: they lie in the wake. They become the stumbling block. Until they are the only thing that makes me feel normal. What helps me feel like I belong, like the pieces I can control. Control. Losing it is my greatest fear and my saving grace.
My mind is accepted by me if its orderly. But when stuff piles up and things get shuffled around, I panic. I race after every unraveling thread and try to rebuild. I’m not fully trusting of myself because I’ve betrayed myself before. It’s feeling like the complete me is unacceptable, because the casing is flawed. My brain chemistry has been tampered with.
Sometimes, my bipolar diagnosis is a envelope of sadness I tuck my myself into. On a few poignant occasions, it’s been a mental wrecking ball in hyperdrive. Most of the time, it’s a dull reminder in the back of my mind that my moods are not always my own.
Oftentimes it’s just a reminder every night when I take my meds (that has to be taken with food and lots of water.) I have bipolar, bipolar has me, I guess we’ll have to be a happy family.