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The Truth of What Bipolar Disorder Looks Like on the Outside

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I know what it looks like on the outside. When I am talking so fast because I’m trying to get every word in that enters my mind at rapid-fire speed. The way my eyes dart around the room because everything is so interesting and I’m trying to gain a sense of my surroundings. The way I pace around the room, or my house, or the world.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I know what it looks like. It looks like some hyper kid who needs to take a “chill-pill” and just sit down for a moment.

But that’s what mania does to me. It manifests itself in my mind and when I don’t sleep, or think, or slow down, it’s because I can’t. But the confidence that rises within me makes me verbalize it as “I won’t!” or “I don’t need to!”

I know what it looks like on the outside. When I get wide-eyed at someone who crosses me the wrong way and I begin to yell or even throw a punch. I know what it looks like when one minute my phone is in my hand and the next minute it’s flying across the room smashing into the wall.

I know what it looks like when someone honks their horn at me while driving because I’m flying down the road along with my thoughts, and I slam on my brakes to get out of the car to pick a fight.

I know what it looks like on the outside. When I stare at a wall for 10, 20, 30 minutes. It looks like I’m tired and need to lie down but the truth is I’m not even in my own body. My mind took me by the hand for an adventure. I’m now looking at my hollow self from the outside.

I know how bad it must feel when my paranoid self takes over. I begin to have delusions and can’t trust the people I love. I know from the outside it looks like I’m ungrateful.

I know what it looks like when I make a crash-landing into depression. I know how strange it must look to see the girl who was living her “best life” sink deep into her bed and stay there like a rock for days.

I know how it must look on the outside when my sinking ship starts to fill up with water from all the tears because I can’t explain anything that is going on.

I know what it looks like when I make myself so distant that it is as if everyone is finishing a marathon while I’m still standing at the starting line. I haven’t even moved but it feels like I’ve been running for hours.

I know what my bipolar looks like on the outside. It doesn’t seem reasonable. It doesn’t make sense to people. But how could it make sense to anyone else if it doesn’t make any sense to me?

The truth is, it doesn’t have to. No one needs to understand. No one needs to rationalize it.

There are people who will still be there for me, and love, and accept me, regardless of what it looks like on the outside.

They will pull me out of the grips of bipolar. They will show me that no matter what it looks like on the outside, they will stick around to see what is on the inside too.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Originally published: June 6, 2018
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