Bipolar Is Not My Friend, but I Can’t Ignore It

I have struggled with bipolar all my life, but was only diagnosed a few years ago. I never went to consult a doctor out of shame to have to put my thoughts and problems on the table, although I knew something was wrong.

One moment on top of the world, the other wanting to disappear. For many years I survived by putting up a mask. Smiling from the outside and burning and crying from the inside. Feeling very lonely and searching for a bit of happiness. A few years ago I could’t deal anymore with my problems and wanted to step out of life and die by suicide. While making plans, I thought that I couldn’t step out because of my wife and children and decided to dial the helpline to prevent suicide.

They made me go to my family doctor. Talking and putting everything on the table was a big relief. They understood the seriousness of my situation and opened the door to a psychiatrist. Since then I am being treated at a specialized mental illness clinic for bipolar. Sessions, medication and light therapy help me to stay within my safe range. The disadvantage is having to deal with the side effects from medication: loss of memory, problems with concentration and trembling hands.

I am self-employed and plan my own days. Some days I do a lot of work and other days nothing, and I don’t feel guilty about it. As I said, bipolar is not my friend, but I can’t ignore it. The hardest thing is the stigma and not being able to talk about it. People think those with a mental illness are scary and a bit “crazy.” I stopped fighting and live my life, and try not to sink back into a serious depression. Bipolar is and will always be my challenge.

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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via francescoch

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