Your Stigma Is Offensive to My Bipolar Disorder


It’s a painful subject to admit I have bipolar disorder, and why should I? My own psychiatrist recommends against this admission for some reason. Not sure what’s so wrong with having bipolar disorder, I didn’t choose it. It runs in my family in various ranges and forms, some taking form as a black cloud-like depression, in others a generalized attitude of rage prevails, and in me…well, I just get spun out of a normal sense of reality. It’s where I land that’s most embarrassing, the humiliating fight to find who I actually am, inside a full-shadow version of myself.

I hide it pretty well, as it comes upon me. Those long manias are as interesting as any version of reality I can cling to, and so it holds me. I’ve committed lots of damage during those lengths of time when I wasn’t sure which was the correct reality. Hopefully it won’t happen again, being twice caught off guard is enough for one lifetime. My doctor says it will happen again, that it’s cyclical. My children have witnessed first hand as I slip away from my baseline and at first gain energy, though it’s lovingly directed. I clean more, cook more, enjoy all of my life as much as I possibly can, start projects. At this point, I’m wary of any project that draws me in, my energy is best directed toward the very basics like housekeeping and childcare.

The few friends I hold close do not even know I’ve been committed to a hospital setting twice, and yes, it is an unpleasant situation, but it’s necessity just to stabilize me, as I drift back down from the grandiose ideas I’d been entertaining, a little too invested in possibilities that I’m not meant to own. Putting my heart and soul into everything I encounter is both seen as a gift, as well as the devil on my shoulder who is intent on taking me down. The saboteur, my unacknowledged shadow, orphaned selves… envy, pride, embarrassingly prejudice, faith, destiny, hope… these all get confronted during my absence from the status quo.

The proverbial onion gets peeled, I contend with disowned sides to myself, inevitably I grow and grow, which is why I always walk away with my head still held high. Society never expects someone “like me” to be managing mental illness, but it’s a daily goal to avoid triggers and to maintain a steady focus on everything I simply love and believe in. Raising an amazing family, being the envy of my peers, never conforming to the expectations of society, in between the cooking and the baking, the childcare, the mountains of laundry I scale every day…I contain multitudes.

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

Thinkstock photo via Archv


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Bipolar Disorder

Photograph of an Attractive female and the hands of her boyfriend combined with leaves and ink painting

The Two Inner Voices I Have as Someone With Bipolar Disorder

I hear two voices in my head all the time. I only realized this in the last few years. It’s been so noisy up there for so long that it was hard to get it straight, but once I identified them, something settled in me and things began to make a little more sense. The [...]
Silhouette of a happy mother and her baby daughter holding hands, and running and dancing outside at sunset.

The Love I Have for My Children Is Stronger Than My Bipolar Disorder

I have been so severely depressed that I stayed in bed for days, barely able to move enough to sit up and crawl out of bed, sometimes almost wetting my pants because my brain barely functioned enough to signal for me to move my body to get out of bed to use the bathroom. My personal hygiene skills [...]
cupcakes

How Baking Saved My Life as Someone With Bipolar Disorder

Since my diagnosis, everyone has had his or her advice on what to do. Have you tried running? Running? You mean a slow and horrible death? No thank you. Have you tried going to the gym? Fun fact, more often than not, it makes me feel bad about myself. When I exercise, my mind will [...]
digital composite of yougn woman blurred walking through office

A Snapshot of My Experience With Hypomania

I spent months just existing. Sleeping and eating. Ice cream for breakfast. Lunch is always skipped because I’m asleep again. Ice cream for dessert after dinner, then back to bed. I was depressed. Months of not crossing a single thing from a to-do list, and then two weeks of what feels like highly efficient activity. [...]