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What I Want Others To Know on Their Hardest Days With Bipolar Disorder

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People say life is tough. I don’t think they’re kidding — life with mental illness can be extremely difficult. I’ve known nothing but mental illness for my entire 26 years of existence. At age 18, I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and social anxiety. All throughout my life journey, I knew there was something awry with myself. I didn’t do well in school, I was quick to anger, and I was paranoid about everyone and everything. I would have moments of feeling so euphoric and on top of the world — only to have it all come crashing down into an abyss of melancholy and deep depression.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Having bipolar disorder can be tricky to grasp. Just as a magician uses sleight of hand to deceive and trick their audience, bipolar performs the exact same feat. It uses mania or hypomania (depending on which type of bipolar disorder you have) to induce feelings of happiness, glee, and joy. It disguises itself by giving you feelings of invincibility, making you think you can accomplish anything and everything in the universe. It can also lead you into behaviors and actions that may give a temporary release of adrenaline but can also be dangerous. With bipolar disorder, you may honestly feel as though there is nothing in this world you can’t do. That is, until the downfall may hit, and when it hits, it may hit hard. The feelings of hopelessness and depression may come and knock all your doors down. The depression may reside within you for however long it feels that it wants to. You may often feel as though you have lost control of yourself and your identity.

As someone who has been driving down this road all her life, I’m here to remind you that you are not your illness. Some people may blame themselves for their bipolar disorder — they may think they’ve done something “wrong” and are now getting a mental illness as a result. While you may feel this way, though, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, your bipolar disorder is not your fault.

There are many factors, from genetics to environment, that contribute to having a mental illness, and there is still much research and analysis to be done on the subject. I often wonder why I have this disorder, and you may have wondered the same. The answer is that I can’t answer that question. However, I do believe that people with mental illnesses can be some of the strongest and most resilient people. On that same note, they may also be some of the most intelligent and creative individuals out there.

You are beautiful just the way you are. You may be struggling, you may feel as though the world is crumbling around you, and you may feel like an outsider, but you’re far from alone. You are an inspired, loving, and magnificent work of art in human form. You are your own unique person with your own talents, hopes, dreams, goals, and journey. And just remember, on the days when you feel like you can’t even get out of bed, don’t feel bad. Give yourself — and your heart and soul — a break. You are loved beyond comprehension — always remember that!

Getty image by AlexSava.

Originally published: March 24, 2022
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