The Hardest Part of My Bipolar

The hardest part of being bipolar is not knowing who I truly am.

Am I the resting bitch face walking around large and in charge; the pathetic girl on the verge of crying any minute; the awkward girl who will replay every word of this conversation over in her head for years, wondering what she should have said differently and what people are thinking as they hear her words? Am I the girl who is judgmental of everything and everyone, while terrified of being judged by others? Am I the irritable mom always annoyed and yelling at her kids to behave and get along; the adventurous mom always looking for ways to expand everyone’s horizons; the fun mom letting her kids paint, jump in puddles, play in dirt, knowing that cleaning will take longer than making the mess The mom always careful to feed balanced diets, teach something new every day and encourage active lifestyles; the wonder woman always able to keep up with the house and laundry on top of everything? Am I the wife and friend offended by every facial expression and tone of voice? The fun-loving breath of fresh air? The best day ever, always smiling, always happy, even if it’s just on the outside? The ray of sunshine and ball of energy that lights up each room she enters? Am I forgivingness or a grudge? Am I empathy or selfishness? Am I the sun or the moon? Happy or sad? A walk in the woods or a day on the couch; a critic or a victim; a laugh or a tear; the broccoli or the cupcake? A burden or a peer; a curse or a prayer? Am I anger, regret, pride, energy, sadness, gloom, friendship, honesty, a nuisance, hope or judgment?

The hardest part about being a hundred different people is indecision. Because this me is sure about the decision I’m making while next month’s me surely will regret it. And if the decision can be reversed, then next month me will without a doubt reverse it, only to regret the decision to reverse that decision a few months later. This is a life in a never-ending cycle of guilt, regret, envy, tears. That is not who I want to be.

The hardest part of bipolar is being one of these people at any given moment — never knowing which one is actually me, because this month’s me and next month’s me are two polar opposites. It’s not having friends because one me is incredibly likable while the next me is unpleasant and judgmental and there is only so much forgiveness a friend can give. It’s having to teach myself constant mindfulness, creating the person I want to be in my mind and trying unsuccessfully to be that person every moment of every day. It’s thinking this me isn’t good enough. It’s always wanting, always trying to be a different person. It is needing to constantly be here now. It’s everyday life being a struggle and a battle to be someone I don’t even know I am.

One day I will perfect mindfulness and bipolar will be a part of me I am not ashamed and embarrassed of. One day bipolar will be something that gave me no option but to learn the skill that many have not or never will perfect — the act of staying present for each moment of my life because I have to be mindful of every single thought, word, action. Right now, bipolar is a constant struggle; a battle between selves. But this me refuses to let that be my life. This me seeks constant self-improvement. This me lives in each moment of her life, or tries to at least. This me is confident that mindfulness will one day be second nature and life’s little moments will be enjoyed. All of this is me, and the hardest part of bipolar is deciding which one I want to be.

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