The Mighty Logo

How My Bipolar Disorder Is Like Driving Through a Desert

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

It’s like driving through a desert in a broken down, scrap metal car, with no roof, bare parts and just the metal wheel frames scratching against the dry rock.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

The lows are when it rains. When the car gets filled with water, my clothes become all wet. The sand makes me sink and stop moving. I’m then faced with the challenge to push my car through the sand, knee deep with no idea when the rain with ease; nor when the clouds will clear and the thunder will stop drumming in my ears.

The highs are when the sun comes out, the land dries up. This is an escape from lows, the wet and miserable sand. It all seems surreal, as if everything is the most wonderful, beautiful thing to ever occur. The wind is running through my hair and I feel so energized, enlightened and free. Eventually I ditch the car because it feels like the car can’t keep up with the pace of my thoughts. I can run fastest around the desert without the car. But the consequence of this is the sunburn, the cactus, the snakes and the lack of water. All these things don’t become obvious until I hop back into the car and sky turns dark and I call it a day.

The highs are also the dust storms of anger which sweep over me like a doormat. They consume me like a singular grain of sand gets consumed by the beach. I get mad and irritated by the slightest breeze, knowing that a consuming storm of dust, dirt and bush is running through the desert just like me. It is possible that I could come in contact with this natural beast at any given time. When I get consumed, I become one with the dust storm. It dictates my movements and thoughts, but when it passes I’m thrown from it’s grips like a rag doll.

This is extremely draining.

The highs are as hard as the lows, but I feel everything from the lows immediately. But the highs. Their effects leave marks, long after I come down.

One of the hardest things for me though is that I am alone in this desert. When I’m high, it doesn’t matter as much. But when I’m low, there is this burning desire for one person to stop their fancy car and pull over and give me a hand especially when I am knee deep in sand. I am sometimes so concentrated on staying afloat that I can’t grab the attention of passing cars. I stand in my desert wishing someone would just travel through my desert.

During the highs, people always pull over. But why wouldn’t you?! You see me running around, playing in the patches of wild flower, doing things that some only dream of doing. Living the unrealistic life which everyone desires to experience every so often. They stay for a while and mess around in my sanctuary in the desert, but that’s it.

That’s all.

It’s just a moment, just a moment of their time they want to spend with me in my desert.

And that’s always what it will be, me and desert.

And who knows whether it’s going to be a wonderful sunny day or a dark struggle in the sand.

Thinkstock photo via mdesigner125

Originally published: June 22, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home