Bipolar Disorder Is No Longer My Identity


I have bipolar disorder. This became my identity for seven years. I couldn’t work. I could hardly socialize. Sometimes, I couldn’t move.

I was Mike with bipolar.

But a definition of something you have doesn’t mean it has to define you.

It took me a long time to realize this. Lots of med changes. Hospital stays. Therapy. We exhausted nearly every med. Combinations and dosages. It was bleak.

Then one day, one pill made the difference.

I’ve been slowly but steadily reclaiming my life. A hard fought victory. And I’m happy, stable and secure.

I never could get over my past enough to enjoy my present. Now? I see a future.

My advice to anyone with a mental illness?

Don’t ever give up.

I’m Mike. I’m a father, a son, a brother, a friend, an advocate, a writer, a gamer, a humorist, a philosopher and so much more.

There’s so much more to me than my disorder. And in my life and in my future, I want to help anyone feeling hopeless see beyond the definitions they give themselves to see hope again.

That’s my goal in life, my direction, my meaning and my sincerest wish.

Please see your value when you look inside yourself. Because I promise everyone around you does. Stay strong. Fight. Never give up. Live every day. Your terms. The way you need. Find one reason to stay alive. Find one reason to smile. You are stronger than you know. I promise.

I don’t know your story. It could be like mine. It could be nothing like mine. But there’s always hope. Always.

I can say this because I never thought I’d feel it again. Then, after enough fighting, I did. It just took time. If I had listened every time those nasty voices told me to die, if I had died when I did listen, I wouldn’t be here today.

My daughter wouldn’t have her dad. My parents wouldn’t have their son.

Every wonderful moment I’ve seen since? I would have never seen them. These memories? Poof. Nonexistent.

It gets better. You hear this all the time, I’m sure. Things like:

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

“You deserve to live.”

“It gets better. Just keep fighting.”

You hear it so much it loses meaning. And in the darkness of depression? Even meaningful things lose meaning. Love isn’t enough. The things you enjoy doing aren’t enough. Everything going right isn’t enough.

When you’re so lost in darkness you can’t see the light.

That’s why I’m begging you. Find one thing every day. One tiny flicker of light to keep yourself going.

Anything.

Because before long, you won’t find just one thing. You’ll find a dozen. You’ll look back on the times where you almost gave up and be so happy that you didn’t.

And the world will too.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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