My father is bipolar (BP), he goes through periods where he calls me so excited he can barely contain himself. He tells me he has the best new idea to make him millions. He anxiously describes the stories he is writing. When I see him in person he is clean, shaven, and a healthy weight. I cannot smell the remnants of alcohol on his breath. He smiles, he laughs from the pit of his stomach, and he is kind to me. Other times, I cannot get a hold of my father for weeks, when I stop by his house to make sure he is alive - the house is trashed, he has not eaten, or showered in days. He is unable to return any calls and empty alcohol bottles riddle the floor. So it goes, a constant cycle. Growing up I assumed he just did not care, when he did not show to pick me up on his scheduled days; I assumed he had more important things to do. The cruel reality is my father’s genetic makeup controls his life. When he is manic, he is ecstatic, he is responsible and present. Comparatively, when he is depressed, I watch him slip slowly away into the abyss.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder about 14 years ago and I must admit, it was a relief to know there was something wrong with me, something tangible I could label, a way to understand the inner turmoil; it felt good to know other people were like me too, it felt good to know there was a reason (chemical imbalance I was told). Before the diagnosis, I just thought I was fucking crazy and was too scared to tell people the real truth, the ups and downs and sometimes the daily mood swings which totally controlled me. I hid it all out of fear. Fear that people would not understand. I knew something from quite a young age; I knew I was different in some way.
Grey or Gray areas... Nothing in life is EVER black and white.
If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumorously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing.
I hate bipolar. It’s awesome!
I guess it’s true what they say that things often have to get worse before they get better. That’s probably because we tend to make things worse before we’re ready to make them better. I know, for me, it’s easier to wallow in self-pity and just wish things were different and then blame others for my situation than it is to do the work needed to push on toward a brighter tomorrow.
This past Wednesday, I had what would be considered a mental crack. Not a complete breakdown, but I had broken down throughout the day. Waking up on my day off, I had experienced a series of fluxes in my emotions that all lead up to me feeling empty and overflowing with tears. You may be wondering why or even when did I figure out that I was mentally cracking. Through the tears and anguish, I had begun to search out, to figuring out the reasons why. Why was I so damn sad when everything around me has been going well? Why was I feeling so empty that mustering the feeling of being "full" was a difficult task, especially in the things that had been going very well for me?
When I was eight, I felt true sadness for the first time; real, deep sadness. The kind of sadness that can’t be cured with a hug from your mum.
My aunt, who, like me, struggles with mental illness (me, bipolar disorder, her chronic depression). We've begun to exchange letters to track our comings and goings in hopes of at least to keep a steady diary charting our moods, at most to offer one another consolation and guidance to live fuller, more stable lives.
I don’t feel anything. Nothing matters to me. I’m feeling more than I can. Everything matters more than it should. Everything is at stake. Meh, I don’t care much about it. Whatever. Why can’t I stop thinking about everything? I need to calm down. Wow, this is weird. I can barely express anything. I don’t feel like doing anything. I feel so stagnant. Oh GOD why!! Why can’t I stop feeling so terrible? I just want to cry. I don’t know how to stop. Why do people have reactions? I barely have any reactions. Wait, why don’t I react to things? I don’t understand why I overreact so much. Why can’t I control my emotions? Where are my emotions? Why? What is happening to me? What is happening to me…………...…?
Many of us have heard the word "Bipolar," I believe. It comes from Bipolar Disorder, a Personality Disorder (definition: An ingrained behavior in which the person shows signs of such a thing by the adolescent period of their life; this may affect their relationships and role in society). There are three major Bipolar Disorders I would like to focus on for this chapter: Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder.
"But I don't know WHY I feel this way. Do you think I could be bipolar or something?"