Bipolar disorder is a serious disease. It’s not fun, nor trendy.
Bipolar (for me at least) means consistent medication, dose changes, and getting adequate sleep to stay well.
Bipolar means periods of extremes. Mania and depression, then mania again, and so on. A cycle through the seasons. It doesn’t mean: Let me yell and pull my hair out, and then giggle uncontrollably thirty minutes later.
Mania is a state of the brain. It seems rather misunderstood as a whole. It’s important to know that being in mania doesn’t make someone a maniac.
I took the liberty of looking up “mania” on dictionary.com. Here’s the super informative definition:
(1) excessive excitement or enthusiasm; craze: ex: The country has a mania for soccer.
Okay.. so in second place:
(2) Psychiatry. manic disorder
Mania. I had no idea what it was until I experienced it firsthand.
In my psych class at Clemson, I remember we breezed right through it. Which is fine, lots of material to cover-I get it Jorgensen.
I scribed in my notes something of the like: mania- affective disorder characterized by euphoric mood, excessive activity and impaired judgment.
While this is true, I had no grasp on what this would entail in real life application. It was simply a multiple choice answer on a test.
It wasn’t until my nonchalantly jotted bullet point became my reality that I understood.
Bipolar disorder freaking sucks. It’s not something I can ignore and say, “Just..stay there, I’ll deal with you later.”
It’s really hard. But I have learned a few things.
It means living with haunting and embarrassing things I did or said in the past.
..But It doesn’t mean I have to dwell on them day in and day out…and I don’t (anymore).
It means I have a serious condition that needs to be addressed and managed.
..But It doesn’t mean I think of myself as some sub-human specimen who can’t do what everyone else can.
It has made me manic, but not a lunatic.
It has made me depressed, but not completely hopeless for eternity.
When someone has a physical condition, most of the time they don’t feel the need to confess it under their breath. Unfortunately, mental illness is a different story.
Even the word “bipolar” is so harsh sounding. If I tell someone out loud that I’m bipolar, I’m often greeted with a look of I can’t believe you just admitted that out loud. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue…kind of like most things that are expected to be kept to ourselves.
The prenotions that come with the idea of bipolar are so strong.
Like I’ve mentioned in a post before, when in high school, I remember hearing random, uneducated slams against bipolar here and there…I thought semi subconsciously, I am so glad that I’ll never have to deal with something like that! I’m so normal. Bipolar people are weird. Bipolar people are psychos.
Then it hit, and I was now the aforementioned “psycho.” But really, I was just ill.
I’ve also told of how a “well-intentioned” woman advised me to never share with anyone that I’m bipolar. To keep it a secret for my own good. That she was looking out for me.
So, thanks lady who I haven’t heard from since! Your recommendation is actually the reason I started this blog.
I’m doing the exact opposite of what you told me to do, because I think more highly of the human capability to understand than you do.
The truth is, my secret could’ve ultimately killed me- and my life is far more important than my pride or appearance.