This is something I’ve wanted to write for awhile and frankly should have a long time ago. Bipolar disorder is such a big drawback in my life and others. Unless you have bipolar disorder you will never completely understand what it’s like to have it. Although I have this illness, that doesn’t mean I can’t live my life how I want to.
For anyone who is not familiar with BD, it is an illness characterized by days, weeks, or months of episodes of manic and depressive episodes. I could go a week feeling on top of the world and then plummet into an abyss of the worst depression you could imagine.
Manic episodes cause me to lose self control. I make bad and risky choices, things that I would normally never do. I get a lot of anxiety even when nothing is happening. This anxiety causes me to completely break down either into a panic or in to tears. I stay up for days on end because I feel like I just don’t need the sleep. When I speak it is fast and doesn’t make much sense. I like to go on spending sprees when manic and it really ends up hurting me in the end. I tend not to have manic episodes as much as depressive, considering I have type II BD.
Depressive episodes are different matter. It is so hard to get out of bed. In fact it feels impossible. I can’t motivate myself to do anything. Everything feels like an impossible task to complete. My bed is my safe haven. I will spend days just sleeping, I feel like I can never get enough sleep. I won’t eat, I don’t go anywhere, won’t socialize, I prefer to be completely alone. Sometimes I don’t feel any emotion, just emptiness, other times I can’t stop crying. I will go to the hospital over the little things that happen because I fear for my life.
What is the one thing both these episodes have in common? They are not me. I am not myself when going through these episodes. Which is why it helps to have a support system of people who truly care about you and try to understand your illness. Although they will never fully understand it, it helps them to know what you are going through, because we WILL have intense emotions. Such intense emotions that we feel we are out of control at times. I always wished I had someone there with me during an episode to help guide me out of it. Things like “You’re not yourself right now.” It’s going to be ok.” “Give it time and you’ll feel better.” are extremely helpful when in an episode, at least that is the case for me. Each person with bipolar disorder is different, therefore different encouraging and calming things have to be said.
Bipolar disorder is debilitating. I am constantly in and out of a job because my episodes are so extreme. I lost my license because I drove my car into a tree on impulse. I feel the need to self harm to feel better in extreme situations. It is tough, extremely tough, which is why medication is so essential.
I used to go through phases when I was younger of refusing to take my meds. This is common in people with BD. When going through a manic phase we feel we don’t need meds. We feel on top of the world. This isn’t the case. We NEED our medication. Missing a day will throw you off for weeks to a month. You may be in a manic episode and resume medication after missing a day which plummets you in to a depression for who knows how long.
Bipolar disorder does not define me, it isn’t who I am. It may be a big part of me, and yes it is very tough to deal with, but I appreciate everyone that has stayed with me along the way. I know it is hard to cope with my constant episodes but I am so thankful that I have a support system of people who love and care about me. Without that I don’t know where I’d be.