'I Feel So Bipolar Today' -- No, You Probably Don't
“I feel so bipolar today.”
Many people believe someone with bipolar is just extra moody. Others believe their own normal ups and downs in life make them have a “bipolar day.” Unfortunately, my moods don’t always have to do with my situation. The low of bipolar can be a monster, and the mania can be destructive.
When I have bipolar depression I can’t move, I can’t shower, I can’t even open my eyes without crying. The darkness is so dark and lonely I feel like there is no way out. Death comes to mind… often. “If I wasn’t here my husband and kids would be so much happier.” The pain of hearing my husband say, “Leave Mommy alone; she’s sick” for the 20th time this year can be disheartening.
You know what else is disheartening? Having to call my children from a payphone to say goodnight from the psych ward.
In 2014 I was hospitalized eight times. The guilt I have felt through the years over my boys wondering if I’m going to be home when they get home from school, if I will be there to tuck them in at night — it breaks me down.
“Oh, I feel so bipolar.”
Oh, no. You don’t.
When I’m manic I go days with limited sleep and food, which makes my mental state even worse. It starts out nice — I feel like I have all the energy in the world, like I can accomplish anything, like I’m really happy. I go shopping, call friends, I become superwoman… for a short while. It’s all a big lie. I don’t realize the lie until it’s too late. When I start hearing or seeing things that aren’t there, I have to take a double look. I’m paranoid. Is that someone at my door? No, it’s just the shadow of the trees swaying back and fourth. Did I hear my son call my name? No, he’s at school.
I become a disorganized mess. I forget to shower, I forget important dates, I forget time. I lose track of everything. I lose track of myself. I become a philosopher, an artist, a poet, a writer, but really it’s all a mess and doesn’t make sense to anyone but me.
Sometimes when I am stable, I mourn for myself. I know a pity party never does anyone good, but sometimes I just want to be normal. I don’t want to have to take six different medications every day, I don’t want to live in constant limbo between manic and depressed and “normal.”
But I have learned something.
I can teach people. I am not quiet about my disease. I try to help others understand what bipolar really is and that it’s not just a few mood swings. People live with all kinds of horrible illnesses, and this is just the one I was given. So if we all talk about our disease, no matter what kind of disease it is, maybe we can change a life — make someone feel not so alone in their struggle. And maybe, just maybe, pull phrases like,”I feel so bipolar today” off the street.
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