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To the People Who Saved Me on My Journey With Bipolar Disorder

I would like to say so many things, but words fail. So today, I thought I would tell you what you mean to me. 

My bipolar disorder doesn’t let me be the person I’d like to be for you. Understanding my bipolar disorder can be hard. But you do. And I don’t know many people who have the kind of patience and understanding you have. 

Dear brother,

I still remember the first time I saw you, in your crib, so tiny. You were the most beautiful thing I have seen in my eight years of life. There was a time when, after our mother passed away, I was diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD. You were very young, and I was responsible for you.

You grew up to be more mature than any person I have met in my life. You have saved me countless times from hurting myself. You became my rock. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, from that time to now, you have been my constant reality check — through the unnerving moments of mania, through the petrifying moments of depression, when things were so blurry that nothing seemed real anymore. 

You have been there through every frightful panic attack that left me gasping for more air, and I’ll never forget the moments you held my hand and let me know it’s OK.

I just wanted to let you know that you’re still the most beautiful thing I have in my life, and you’ll always be. 

Dear husband,

There was a time, before you came in my life, when I gave up. I quite literally gave up on the whole idea of life. I imagined a world without me would be a better place, for everyone. I hurt myself to get through the numbing pains of constant depression, the fear of unknown high. I lost family and friends, near and far. There was absolutely no reason for this life I had.

When you walked into my life, unknowingly, you came carrying life with you. You saved me. No matter how much I try, I will never be able to explain what it means to save a life. But you did it, and you are still doing it, every single day. 

I believed it would be difficult for anyone to understand my perilous highs and lows, and I would never have a “normal” life. But you changed all that, picked me up from my decline, you accepted me for who I am, and you helped me accept myself. You believe I am not my illness, an illness that’s stigmatized by our society.

To this day, you’re the constant reminder I must’ve done something beautiful to have fallen in love with you. You hold me together, I’ll never fall apart.

Dear best friend,

I haven’t been the greatest friend, I know that. I wasn’t there to celebrate the little and lots in your life. I have missed birthdays, your move to a new city, your promotion, your travel stories, and all the things that matter to you. All the while, I was immersed in my depression, or my menacing mania, or the severe panic attacks and anxiety.

You came in my life when I needed a friend who understands I cannot be “normal.” That I cannot engage in long talks every day, go out to party, be there every happy and sad moment of life, do all things fun. I got everything and more from you. The best thing was, I didn’t have to hide or pretend to be all those things for you to be my friend.

Through all the terrible arguments, fights and months of no conversation, we still end up where we started. To being the kind of friends who belong in stories. And we have a story together, and I’m glad.

You are one of the most phenomenal women I know, and I hope you know that. 

If you’re still reading this letter, thank you for your unbounded patience and love. And thank you for staying with me even when I pull away. I know how hard it must be to understand everything that’s happening to me, my bipolar disorder, paranoia, anxiety. But I see you trying, and that’s all I ever asked for.

Thank you.