The Unexpected 'Super Power' Bipolar Gives Me

I think we have all been asked the following question at some point: if you could have any super power, what would it be?

Answers to this age old question vary across the board. The adventurous might love the power of flight, the devious x-ray vision and perhaps, the energetic would love super speed. Personally, I have always struggled to answer this question. What if I already have a “power?” What if I hate it? So for me, the question isn’t which super power I want, it’s whether I want one at all.

What is my power? I have an uncanny ability to be invisible. I’m sure that I cannot be the only one. Maybe you know what I am talking about; the ability to be looked at by a sea of people but never really “be seen.” Almost like when an entire classroom stares at you and thinks they know you, but have no idea who you really are — the real you.

I feel as though I have been invisible my whole life, constantly drifting around in a whirlwind of people and consistently feeling alone.

Always alone.

This isn’t a matter of being noticed or liked. I have people who notice and like me. It’s a matter of being seen. I imagine this is largely due to my bipolar disorder. In talking with others, I tend to put on masks to try and hide myself and my mood — maybe out of fear, maybe out of protection.

I’ve been hiding behind masks my entire life. I have been constantly adapting and changing masks to fit what I believe those around me want to see because, quite frankly, who wants to see the real me?

I feel like a monster. I feel like my bipolar makes me a monster — an invisible, distant monster.

I don’t blame any one person. If I were to blame anyone, it would be myself. I am the one putting on the masks to hide who I really am. I am the one that never lets anyone in.

The problem is, I have been so invisible for so long that this “super power” has become a curse. I’ve worn so many masks for so long that I’m not even sure what my “real face” looks like. I’m not sure whether one of the masks is the “real me,” if there is a “real me” separate from the masks or if I am all of them.

I believe this is part of the nature of bipolar and maybe mental illness in general.

I’ve lost myself. I have become so invisible, I can’t even see myself.

I’m beginning to believe that in order to continue ending the stigma around mental illness, we have to start seeing people as they truly are and not as we want to see them. Those who struggle with mental illness need to make an effort to remove their masks, but we also need to create safe spaces for that to happen.

If you are reading this, I see you. Or, at least, I want to.

Follow this journey here.

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

Thinkstock photo via Dziggyfoto

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

Related to Bipolar Disorder

young man standing on stage solo with smoke and lights

Why Bipolar Disorder Recovery Is Like a Choreographed Dance Production

Just about anyone who is willing and able can get up and dance solo. It doesn’t really require much… maybe the person themselves and some music to guide the movement, but it doesn’t take a whole lot to make it run other than (some) preparation beforehand. Even less is required if this soloist lacks an [...]
Female silhouette of contour. Woman face profile view . Beauty girl portrait with colorful hair vector illustration on beige background.

What It Looks Like to Come Back After a Bipolar Disorder 'Crash'

Sometimes when you “hit the pavement” with your mental health, it takes some time to collect yourself. You roll over, lay on your back for a minute or two and then maybe get in a sitting position. Brushing yourself off begins and you start assessing the damage. Dealing with a crash after some hypomania feels just like this for [...]
young woman against grey background looking down upset

Why My Bipolar Disorder Makes Me Constantly Apologize

First off, let me start by saying I apologize. I apologize for every time I screwed up. Every time I let you down. Every time you were embarrassed because of my actions to not succeed in my work, my goals, my being. Why am I apologizing? Because I absolutely feel I have to. As far [...]
woman crying

Why I'm Sharing the Picture of My Worst Night With Mental Illness

This picture. This picture is about to break my mom’s heart, but these words will piece it back together. This picture will surprise people. It will make them uncomfortable. It may make them think, But what about future employers? For that, I am proud. To any employer who turns me away out of fear, I respect your [...]