When I Try to Find the Right Words to Describe My Bipolar Disorder
Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
I wish I could write eloquent poetry of what being manic and bipolar is like. I wish I could find the right words to describe what the rush of adrenaline was like, but I can’t. I just can’t do it, but not being able to find words is a perfect way to describe how my bipolar disorder II affects my life.
I have days where I am on top of the world, wanting to get everything and anything done. I want to clean. I want to work. I want to be in love and I crave joy. I am a dreamer on those days. To be honest, I prefer to be “manic” Alex. I like her sometimes. I like how she can get things done and how “productive” she can be. I like how her ideas flow out of her like lava. I feel like I could fall in love with myself during those moments. I am invincible. I can be awake for days without stressing about sleep because I think I don’t need it. I can write for hours and I can read a book in a day.
It sounds like a depressed person’s dream, right? Right. I want to mention the downfalls of a manic episode. I can’t stop shaking. It’s like I am vibrating. I try to stop but I can’t. I don’t eat because I think I am better than food. I don’t need food to survive; again, that comes from my eating disorder too. My words don’t come out the way I want them to and often they don’t come out at all. It’s like I have a cannon of words, thoughts, ideas and memories firing out at me. It’s all going so fast I can’t mentally or verbally keep up. I am irritable. I feel like it manifests itself in a part of my body, like I can feel it throbbing. I snap at the people I love and I am not loving and I am not kind. My anxiety is overpowering. I pace. I pick at my skin. I pull my hair out. I can’t sit still. When I try and read, my words all mesh together so I have to read a sentence over and over again until it becomes English. It disrupts my work when I have to take 20 minutes to answer an email that should have taken me 20 seconds. Mania rears its ugly head all at once and it’s fierce. It’s beautiful colors and a harmonious orchestra of nirvana. It’s my darkest demons dressed as angels.
Then the darkness comes. It flies in and knocks me on my feet. I feel dead. My body aches and my heart is heavy. The beautiful colors have turned to gray and the beautiful orchestra has turned to a somber piano. The thoughts are still fast but my body is so tired I can’t keep up. The thoughts slowly turn to silence and glass. I don’t know who I am anymore. I am in tears before my feet hit the floor because I know I have to face another day.
“Do it. Do it now.”
I am impulsive. It’s my voice but it’s not me. I am a failure. I am timid and ashamed. I am broken and I’m not sure how I will go on. The depths of the darkness go on for weeks, months and years. I am my own abuser. I harm myself because I want, I need out of my skin. I don’t eat. I don’t deserve it. Why am I alive? Leave me alone. Get out. Leave me alone. Let me be. I am scared and I crave love.
I do my best: put on my smile, curl my eyelashes and wipe the tears and redo my makeup for the 10th time before I leave. During these moments, I need to be perfect. I am even willing to die trying. I am tired. God, am I tired. The world is dark. I feel locked within myself, haunted by memories and flashbacks of my past life. My demons are chasing me and I don’t have the energy to run. I can’t find the energy. I can’t find Alex.
Between the mania and the depression, I am there. I am the sweet but bitter coffee on a Sunday morning. I am giggles at cartoons on a Saturday night. I am the gentleness after a wicked storm. I am also the deep and heavy wind before a hurricane. I am messy and I am imperfect. I am bright colors and a somber piano. I am finding joy between the madness.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
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Getty Images photo via Rasica