Utter shock. Disbelief. Process.
What does this mean now?
Where do I go from here?
I’m not even quite sure what it means to be bipolar. Except for the high plausibility I have been my entire life.
having or relating to two poles or extremities.
Today I was diagnosed bipolar. For the first time there was a name to the way I feel.
To be honest it feels like I’m watching the movie of my life play itself out. I’ve been sitting in my car driving imagining little points in my brain being highly active. I have felt detached from my body today. As if a ghost is operating my body. I am trying to feel something different. Some awareness that I can feel the bipolar in my body. With the shock of the news and the new perspective I expect my body to feel different too. I suppose that’s why I’m feeling detached from my body.
I’ve been looking up symptoms of bipolar. I have always had the perception that someone who has bipolar is quite obvious. Their mood swings so severe they throw chairs through windows and fall into crying tantrums in the middle of school hallways. Since I was able to hold it together enough to not chuck a cash register off of a countertop while at work I assumed I didn’t fall into the category. Looking at the symptoms I find at times I feel like I’m reading about myself.
- A manic episode is a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood that lasts at least one week (or less than a week if hospitalization is necessary). The episode includes persistently increased goal-directed activity or energy.
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
- Decreased need for sleep (for example, you feel rested after only three hours of sleep) check, I thought I just was a ‘bad’ sleeper, besides that’s what coffee is for right?
- Unusual talkativeness check, they always called me chatterbox in grade school
- Racing thoughts check, I’ll bet I’ll beat you to the finish line
- Distractibility check, I have to tell you something really important but you-hey what’s that?!
- Increased goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or agitation check, did I tell you about the new 30 day challenge I’m doing, hey I’m a raw vegan now, I’ve decided I’m going to read only books about writing from now on (throws away all other books), I’m going to re-arrange the whole housekeeping closet at work, I’m going to get up at 5AM every morning and go to a meeting.
- Doing things that are unusual and that have a high potential for painful consequences — for example, unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions or foolish business investments check, where did all my money go?
- The mood disturbance must be severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty at work, at school or in social activities or relationships; or to require hospitalization to prevent harm to yourself or others; or to trigger a break from reality (psychosis).check, um, this shit sucks. have you ever waken up with racing thoughts? yeah i wake up like that every single day of my life. driving to school or work feeling like i’m on a roller coaster. feeling like i won’t be able to sit through class because of how much anxiety i’m having about the paper i’m about to turn in. by 5pm everything is all good man and i can’t stop talking.
- Symptoms are not due to the direct effects of something else, such as alcohol or drug use; a medication; or a medical condition. check, I’m sober and I live a incredible life.
I am playing back memories in my head and starting to contemplate their meanings. I am trying to understand why I reacted the way I did. I’m remembering taking the hit really hard when I found out my 5 year old best friend was moving away. Was that a manic depressive response? Or when Aaliyah passed away and it made me super depressed as if I actually knew her. Surely that’s not rationale at all. That must be a bipolar response. Or how sad I felt on the last day of school because I was never going to see any of these people again! What a tragedy!
Okay, maybe none of those responses have anything to do with being bipolar. Maybe those are the responses that make me, me. And I like me. All of me. I haven’t worked as hard as I do to get to a place where I can’t look at myself in the mirror. I love who I am today and that’s why I am going to keep working on this until I find an equilibrium to it all.
I have a friend who knows what I am going through personally. My friendship with this person anchors me in the reality that I maybe, just maybe I won’t feel like this for the rest of my life. What a gift to have a friend who knows what this feels like. I guess that’s a part of why I’m writing this blog. I have hopes that maybe one person will stumble on my posts and relate. Maybe you’ll find solace in knowing you’re not alone. Know that there are folks living with this and not only living but thriving.
What I’m grateful for is I get to go through this sober. I don’t have to question whether the feelings I have are real or not. I don’t have to question whether or not my feelings are being affected by being hungover, being stoned, or being high. I don’t have chaotic situations in my life that could be triggering my emotions because things in my life are good today. With this knowledge I can be confident in getting medicated for bipolar.
Today I started meds. I’ll be journaling about my moods everyday throughout this time. I won’t be sharing that in my blog don’t worry. What I will do, is talk about how the medication is helping me or doing me a disservice. Again, in hopes of helping another person I will describe my experience to the best of my ability. I’m scared as hell that it won’t work. Or even worse, I’m afraid that if it does work I’ll be a totally different person. What if I don’t like that person? However, I’m giving it up to faith and surrendering to the fact that I can’t live like this anymore. It’s time to say goodbye to these manic episodes. Here’s to a new way of life.
Again, time for bed.