Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Most of the time having bipolar sucks! The medication, the talk-therapy, the occasional psych ward visit and best of all the unrelenting self-inflicted mind f*ckery of being emotionally/mentally unhinged. Controlling your disorder (and not having it control you) takes a combination of Dalai Lama restraint and Pope-like discipline.
If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to punch someone in the face or stab myself in the chest with a knife I could afford to buy Facebook, Google and still have a few bills left over to buy the “er” in Twitter. Being diagnosed with a mood or thought disorder is probably similar to being told you have diabetes or cancer. Yes, it’s that serious. People with mental illnesses can avoid until confronted by severe circumstances (suicides, psychotic breaks). We can receive psychological care without being institutionalized thus allowing us to “fool” ourselves and everyone else that our mental health isn’t serious.
Mental illness is much more subtle. You may feel “off” but you don’t know why. The warning signs may not be articulated until after you end up the hospital or psychiatric ward. For diagnosis, the mental health community requires clients and patients to self-report their own symptoms, which we do poorly, due to a combination of ignorance and pride. How many people confide in their spouses or best friends? How many men talk about their feelings? It wasn’t until January 2011 that I realized I had to embrace my disorder and become an active participant in my own treatment and well-being.
I always took my meds and went to my therapy appointments but that was all surface sh*t. I wasn’t being mindful of my mind and thoughts. I’ve recommitted myself to coping mechanisms that work for me and if a situation or person stresses me out, I remove myself. Negativity can trigger an episode (a manic or depressive period) which literally could lead to my death by suicide.
I don’t love my bipolar like Donald Trump loves his hairpiece or how hipsters love irony or how mothers love babies, but I do accept it as a part of who I am and that is a tremendous advantage in dealing with the ups and downs of living with it.
—Photo credit: TooFarNorth/Flickr