Why My Laundry Is a Perfect Metaphor for My Bipolar II Disorder


My diagnosis of bipolar II disorder is fairly new, though I am not surprised. I’ve always had weeks of super productivity and extroversion followed by a depressive and down mood. Until now, I didn’t know exactly how to explain hypomania to people because it can come off as being well-adjusted and on top of responsibilities. But today I realized my laundry was the perfect metaphor for my bipolar II disorder.

A couple weeks ago, I started doing laundry. I separated by an assortment of categories. Old clothes. New clothes. Bottoms. Tops. Delicates. Towels. Whites. Colors. Dark colors. The piles of clothes became so detailed I had surrendered my floor to 12 small heaps of clothing.

I was going to wash every single piece of clothing I had neglected for two months during my depression because I was better. I was going to clean my room. Vacuum the floor. Dust. Wipe the surfaces. Clean my bedding. I was going to redecorate and organize all of my belongings. Color-coordinate my books. Donate and sell old clothing. Water my plants and repot my aloe.

Then I was going to spend the rest of the day and possibly the night catching up on school work I hadn’t touched since the beginning of the semester. I was going to apply for jobs. Write a portion of a memoir. Read about how to become a better writer.

I had decided all of this before 8 a.m. And I got through about half of the piles of clothing before I hit a wall and crashed. My motivation, productivity and mood had been up for about two weeks. I thought I was completely better and told everyone so. But I started to feel that familiar heaviness in my chest that I can only compare to the weight of grief, and there was a heaviness in my eyes to match. I typically can’t tell the exact moment I start to feel down again. But this time, it punched me in the stomach.

I abandoned my laundry mission and left the remaining heaps to remind me of the productivity I no longer had. I left wet clothes in the washer and crawled into bed. Today, two weeks later, I finally moved those clothes out. They were mildewy and stunk up the whole bathroom. Chances of saving some of my favorite pieces of clothing were abysmal.

I did not leave the heaps of clothing on my floor or ruin a load of laundry because I was too lazy to finish a task I had started. I wanted more than anything to finish what I had set out to accomplish that day. I wanted to stay up. Depression can hit at any moment, and I can only hope my changed diagnosis from depression to bipolar II disorder can help me figure out how to be more successful down the road.

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

Thinkstock photo via Jupiterimages

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Bipolar Disorder

black and white woman standing in front of misty field

When Mental Illness Makes You Spend the Day on Autopilot

I vaguely hear a commercial on the television. Ay son is playing in his room, where I hear the occasional roar of a pretend dinosaur, and there is a quiet jingle of a collar as my dogs run around. Inside my mind, there is a constant stream of disconcerting thoughts I have no control over. [...]
man sitting in derelict building looking depressed

Why Living With Bipolar Disorder Is Exhausting

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Bipolar disorder is exhausting. Asking for help is worse. I hear a little voice in the back of my head as I tell a loved one I don’t feel [...]
mother and daughter walking hand in hand down beautiful country lane while daughter looks up at mother

What I Will Tell My Future Children If They Inherit My Mental Illness

I do not have children, and I am not pregnant. My husband and I are not planning on having kids in the immediate future. And yet from time to time, my mind wanders towards the tiny humans we will bring into this world and how my mental illness may very well get passed on to them. [...]
Group of people under umbrellas in rain

What the Weather Would Look Like if It Was Actually 'Bipolar'

The weather is particularly tricky to diagnose, as any meteorologist will tell you. Yet so many of us are quick to confidently call it “bipolar.” I know society is generally becoming more educated about my disorder, and I’m not even offended by that saying anymore. However, it does us all a disservice by spreading the [...]