Being Bipolar


I am bipolar.  

There are so many preconceived notions out there about this disorder.  Let me clear a few things up.

First of all, I hear people all the time talk about how being bipolar means you’re unbelievably happy one second, and then super pissed the next, yelling and slamming doors or something.  Well, that’s not how it is for me.  For me, it means that for days at a time, I’m manic, which means I feel “high.”  I feel so energized, like I’ve just had way too many Red Bulls, even though I haven’t.  I can’t stop doing.  Doing anything, doing something, doing five things at once, doing ten things at once, doing a thousand things at once.  Doingdoingdoing.

I’ll clean the house furiously as if my life depends on it.  And it’s never enough.  I can’t stop.  My thoughts are racing.  I can’t sleep.  I write.  I write.  I write.  The thoughts come so fast and furiously that I can’t write them down as soon as they flash through my brain.  And I have to write them down.  I have to.  I have to or something bad will happen.  At least, that’s how it feels.  Like my world isn’t complete unless I write these thoughts down.  I can’t explain it.  So I either update Facebook or I type in a Word document or I scribble in the notepad I keep in my purse.

I feel euphoric.  But it’s uncomfortable.  Nothing is enough.  I need.  I want.  I need.  I want.  It’s still so hard for me not to drink.  Because being manic means I want something, anything, some sort of substance or vehicle that takes me higher and higher and higher.  It’s never enough.  I talk too much.  I say before I think.  I don’t want to.  It’s like I can’t control it.

I am impulsive.  Shopping.  I have to go shopping.  I don’t think about the consequences.

I can’t sleep.  The thoughts are racing faster.  I am entering a “mixed state.”  I am high and low at the same time.  I feel guilty.  I am a bad mother.  I am a terrible wife.  At least, that’s where my thoughts go.  I’ll never be good enough.  I am a bad person.
The insomnia leads to mania which leads to insomnia.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Once the mania finally wears off, I am depressed.  My body aches.  I weigh a thousand pounds.  I can’t eat.  I can’t shower.  Why bother?  We’re all going to die anyway.

There is an emptiness, an aching, a longing deep within my soul. I can't fill it. How do I fill it? I cry. I cry at everything. I can't stop. I don't know why. I don't want to live. I don't want to be here. Everyone is better off without me. I can't write. Even though I might have deadlines. I can't. I have no creative thoughts. my brain feels dull, numb. Like a rock. This is why I try to write ahead when I'm manic. When I'm depressed, the thoughts just won't come.
This is what it feels like to be bipolar. To be me. I don't know what "normal" feels like. This is my normal. I'm on medication now that seems to be working better than anything I've ever tried. I'm much more stabilized. But I still have the highs and lows. I don't want my family to worry about me, even though I know they do. I try to play along, to seem happy. Sometimes it's impossible though. I just want them to know that I'm really okay. And I am. I've learned to live with this. I know that in my deepest depression, the light will come. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. I tell myself that I am genuinely happy.

So if you’ve ever wondered what being bipolar is really like, here it is, in black and white.