Why I'm Finally Acknowledging My Bipolar Disorder


Today I am hurting because of you. Today, like many days before it, you have caused me unbearable pain, to the point I was surprised I did not break. I spend days being ashamed of you, hiding you behind nice clothes and cheery laughter, afraid the word “bipolar” would scare even the bravest of souls. I lie about you, say I have beaten you and you will never haunt me again. I say you were a phase and I pretend I have never even heard of you before, let alone experienced the internal struggle you cause.

But the truth is, you have not gone anywhere. Today you are more noticeable to me than on other days. But even on the brightest of days you still hide deep inside of me. By ignoring you and pretending you do not exist, I am doing myself more harm than good and today I realized that. Whenever I act as though you are not a part of my life — even when you are quiet — I’m actually just showing others I do not need help with something like you. And then when you are loud, they get confused and scared. They do not know how to handle me when you’re grasping my feelings and I never told them what to do because I was too busy pretending I never had you in the first place. But it is not only others who are affected when I hide you away. Every time I have a bad day, I feel ashamed because I had convinced myself this time things were different, that this time you would not return.

I think I hide you because I’m scared. As a child, all of my friends and I had dreams of our futures, of things like marriage and jobs and families. You were not part of my future back then. Now when I picture meeting someone and falling in love, I have to think about how I will have to explain you to them. My biggest fear is they will run away, and yet I’m also scared they will stay. I think to myself, perhaps if I pretend you are not as bad as you are, they will love me. And yet, I think I am undeserving of love because of you and therefore I must scare anyone away with warnings and stories about my worst days until they run and never look back.

It is not that I hate myself. No, I simply hate living with you. I hate seeing the sadness on my mother’s face when she realizes you have not gone away like it may have seemed. I start to cry when I think about the pain I have put others through because of you. I have so much guilt, so much shame to be living with you and I feel undeserving and unlovable because of that. But how do I not feel guilty about you?

No one ever seems to be optimistic about you. I must admit it is hard for me to ever be optimistic when it comes to you, but I am sick of hearing of what I can’t do. Everywhere I turn I seem to stumble upon article after article on how I should never have kids, how I will never be able to fully love my significant other and so much more. It makes it hard to see I can live with you and be happy and content with my life. And part of changing this negative stigma starts with me.

So what do I do with you? You are the source of my pain and agony, day after day. But you are also part of me. When will I realize perhaps it is time to stop being ashamed of you? Instead of saying simply you have gone away, I should be saying you come and go as you please, but nothing lasts forever. And when you loom over me, I just need to be reminded of how soon it will be until you are gone. I can choose how I present you to the world and this will depict the amount you can impact my relationships, family and future. It is not embarrassing to have a mental illness and everyone has struggles. The day has come for me to stop hiding mine.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Bipolar Disorder

An abstract woman profile made with paintbrush effects.

Why I Don't Like Answering the Question 'What Did You Do Today?'

“What did you do today?” Survived. I survived. “Um… well, not much, really.” I hate this question with a burning passion. I feel like people, even someone as well meaning as my boyfriend, expect some sort of productive or interesting response. When, really, I can’t even begin to tell them what I went through today. [...]
Bottom view from the round narrow cave

Why We Need to Meet People in the Pit of Their Despair

I am one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet. That comes with constantly battling negative thoughts caused by my bipolar disorder. Somehow in this battle, I’ve become a pretty positive person. However there are times when rough things happen and it makes it really hard for me to be positive. For example, some [...]
Woman looking at the ice cream on a spoon

How the 'Spoon Theory' Relates to My Life as Someone With Bipolar Disorder

In the past week, I have been out of the house more and seen more people than I have in years. It’s almost like having a social life. In the past week, I have also slept more than I usually do in my sloth-like, torpid existence. I think the two are not unrelated. If you [...]
Mother and her child playing together.

I Hope My Children See My Cape

We all fight battles. I fight anxiety, depression, bipolar and more. Some days I’m happy and loving and warm. Other days I’m distant, detached and cold. My children are now old enough to verbalize they notice when mommy is “mean” or “grumpy.” It breaks my heart. They know mommy wrote a book about how hard [...]