The Weird Way I Describe Living With Bipolar Disorder
You’re on a bus.
It’s en route to New York from your home in Baltimore. The other passengers are silently listening to music, catching up on work or asleep. None of them have any idea that you’re completely out of control. That your mind has been hijacked. It’s as if an evil reckless spirit has overtaken you, made you more confident, less inhibited, bent on destroying your life as you know it.
There are $10 in your bank account, which is spent on dinner once you arrive to the city. You have nowhere to sleep for the night, but you’ve asked a new friend to help you find a place to crash.
You’re on a beach. Someone you’ve known for a while graciously invited you to meet with them in Long Beach, New York. You ended up finding a place to sleep last night, but you weren’t afraid you wouldn’t because everything has to work out for you — you’re the chosen one.
That’s what this all is, you’re being tested for something greater. That explains the homelessness, the joblessness, the undue criticism from everyone; the savior must go through pain.
The beach is quiet, except for the sound of waves, the birds and your screaming. You’re yelling at the top of your lungs and running as fast as you can into the ebbing tide.
Moments later you’re on your knees, your body covered in sand. You tell yourself that you’ve “finally arrived.” For the next several months you’ll say this same thing to: anyone who crosses your path, your social media followers and the people who love you who miss the actual you.
You’re in an apartment. It’s drafty. Baltimore is covered in snow. Days ago, your psychiatrist confirmed that you have bipolar disorder. It’s difficult to digest this.
You’re beginning to come down and the depression is setting in. You tell your wife that you feel like you’re sleepwalking through wet cement. It’s hard to get out of bed and you feel absolutely hopeless. You’re in a dark night of the soul, in a tunnel of mirrors that only reflect shame and despair.
You’re in an improv class. It’s only a 20 minute drive from home. The theater community lovingly accepted you back and invited you to do something you loved again. The teacher explains a comedic concept through an analogy. He says, “Comedy is like Mario Kart. Heightening a joke is like hitting one those ramps on a course. Once you do, you’re flying.”
That’s me, you think to yourself. That’s my bipolar disorder. Hypomania is me driving towards the ramp, mania is me hitting the ramp and flying high, and bipolar depression is me crashing in my car, and completely wiping out.
You’re in your bedroom. It’s time to take your meds. The pillow feels cool against the back of your head. You think about all you’ve been through, and how all you want is a boring year. Free of savior complexes, free of dark nights, free of wiping out.
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