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10 Days in the Life of Someone With Bipolar II Disorder

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10, nine…

She feels so alive after finally finding her purpose. She clutches the papers that immortalize the beginning of her start-up company and she smiles at the sheer wonder and beauty of finally owning something worthwhile. She feels powerful and empowered. She feels like the whole world is her arena, and she knows she is ready to make her stamp on its very ground. She feels so damn wonderful today that she writes and she draws and she belly laughs until tears stream out of her eyes.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

… eight…

She comes home to an empty house, stiff limbs and wild hair strands reeking of alcohol and cigarettes. With her rumpled clothes and mascara running down along the edges of her face, she thinks she doesn’t mind the disheveled state of her person; her night had been amazing.

She wipes off what’s left of the glitters on her eyelids, faintly shimmering like dying stars under the dim light of her empty room. She’s had a good night with her friends. She’d laughed at jokes and shook the hands of people with beautiful minds and just as beautiful eyes. She looks at the night sky beyond her window and she muses at the sheer beauty of this very moment.

… seven, six…

Silence is deafening, she realizes. Hearing her own blood rush through her veins in the darkness of her room, she is gripped by the fear she will forever be trapped in a sense of nostalgia — a longing for a feeling she cannot pinpoint. She tries to recreate the feeling of contentment in the safety of her blanket — desperate to feel a sliver of something. She ignores the continuous ding of her phone in the corner of her room again today.

… five…

She laughs so much more easily today. She feels at home in her skin and her face is glowing with confidence and the determination to tackle the many challenges her day presents. She takes each task with finesse and urgency. She is hungry for completion and victory because she understands that every day she wakes up to is a victory waiting to be won. She smiles to herself, soothed by the dull voices of her officemates and the melodic tik-tak of typing keys.

… four, three…

Her fingers brush away the tangles in her hair as the lump stays lodged in her throat. I don’t recognize you, she tells the reflection with her eyes. Breath after shaky breath, she holds in the storm threatening to spill over in her tiny bathroom. She washes her face with water, glad that the frigid coldness of it wakes her up just a little bit. But the hollow in her chest still persists.

… two…

She smokes her 20th cigarette for the afternoon. She stares outside her window and feels both far away and present at the same time. She doesn’t understand the heaviness weighing on her shoulders or the absence of thoughts in her head. She puts out her dwindling cigarette in the ashtray.

There is a haze in her vision, like watching the world through a television set. She can’t comprehend the peculiar absence of something so she picks up another cigarette in hopes of drowning out the white noise in the atmosphere.

… one.

This is what it means to be lonely, she thinks.

When the days blur into today and tomorrow and today yet again and then tomorrow once more; when time is measured by the number of empty glasses and the empty space she wakes up to in the morning; when minutes go by without moving forward and hours trudge on in the blink of an eye; this is loneliness.

She doesn’t know what to make of this realization.

Hi. My name is Dorothy, I have bipolar II disorder and this is my story.

Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash

Originally published: July 2, 2019
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