How Bipolar Disorder Affects My Role as an Activist

America is going through a major crisis right now. The political and social climate couldn’t be more tense. And yet for me, it feels as though I’m living in a bubble. I can see and hear everything that’s going on in the real world and witness the events unfold, but I can’t get involved and put in work as I would like. I’m watching from a distance, unable to connect with anyone or anything.

I want to be on the front lines, making my voice heard and speaking up for justice. Instead I’m confined to my home, relegated to social media as my only means of resistance. My mental and physical health are just not up to par these days. I’ve been pretty sick for a while now, actually. I always hear having bipolar disorder makes you less able to handle stressful situations and at the same time stress exacerbates the symptoms of the disorder. It’s a trap I long to escape.

In my mind, I know this storm will pass and I will feel up to joining marches and attending rallies. But deep down I can’t help but feel a sense of shame and regret my illness is taking so much out of me. Some days I’m able to put my best foot forward and be grateful for the outlets I do have. And at other times, I give in to the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. All in all, I know the best thing I can do is accept myself for where I am and what I’m able to do at the moment. And look forward to the days when I will feel whole again.

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