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For When I Wish I Didn't Have Bipolar Disorder

Today is not a good day.

My debit card number was stolen again (twice in one month), leaving me completely broke until they can get me reimbursed (about a week) or until payday (a week and a half).

Being bipolar 1 with rapid mixed states, these types of situations affect me in ways that can be more intense than they may affect someone else. Of course, this is a stressful situation for anyone to be in, but surprise bad news can be devastating to me. Hell, someone changing plans or canceling on me at the last minute can have the same effect.

My first instinct when I got the call to inform me of the fraud was to scream, then burst into uncontrollable tears, which I’m guessing didn’t make the representative that comfortable. I know it’s not their fault and I didn’t blame them for it, but this unexpected bad news triggered a panic attack which I have to sit through and try to work myself down from at work. I sit here now, hours later, in a daze, staring at random objects at my desk, unsure what to do.

Instantly my brain began its usual berating of myself.

“If you were more successful, this wouldn’t have been a problem.”

“If you didn’t live paycheck to paycheck, you would have been more prepared.”

“Why are you so useless?”

“Are you going to cry about this all day?”

“You’re 28, you live in a studio you can barely afford. Get your life together.”

“You are just a lost cause. What’s the point of you?”

“You’re a failure.”

I hear these voices; I listen to this verbal abuse my brain is giving myself and I cry. I cry because I believe every word and don’t know how to make anything better. I cry because I feel hopeless, helpless and useless to the world around me.

These are the times that I wish more than anything I was not bipolar — the times when unexpected bad things happen and instead of handling it calmly, looking for solutions or dealing with the issue, I break down and have to force myself to recover from whatever sort of episode it triggers — after I get through it first, of course.

I think to myself what life would be like if I wasn’t mentally ill. Would I be happy? Would I have more meaningful relationships? Would I be more financially stable? Would I refrain from the irrational choices and decisions I’m constantly making? I actually Googled how to immigrate to the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland this morning, because all I wanted was to be out of the world as I knew it and for some reason, this seemed a logical solution.

The answer to these questions? Probably. My life may be completely different.

But I know one thing: I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be the me who has fought this illness, and fought it hard, for years. I wouldn’t have the knowledge that I have the strength to live alongside my bipolar disorder — that whatever it brings, I can overcome. I wouldn’t have the understanding and empathy that comes with being mentally ill for those who also struggle and live with it. We are all warriors — we all fight battles every day — and we can overcome. We can always overcome.

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Thinkstock photo via Purestock