QUIT: Keeping My Bipolar Disorder a Dirty Little Secret

[Part of my mission to “live deliberately” involves ruthlessly cutting out anything that saps my time, energy or money to no good end.  I’m calling these things my “Quits,” and this is one of the many items that have found themselves on my Quits List.]

 

Cordelia note:  If this story resonates with you or makes you think of someone you know, please reach out for help.  Bipolar disorder is a serious mental ilness, and you do not need to go through it alone.  Please see the resources listed at the end of this post for further information.

 

This is a post I wasn’t planning on publishing until later.  When I was “bigger,” when I was more “established,” when a confession like this wouldn’t seem so risky.

But I don’t think there’s ever going to be a time when it will feel completely safe to have out with it.  And lately, I’ve been getting all sorts of messages from the universe that it’s time to Just Say It Already.  Because keeping it under wraps just makes it feel like a dirty little secret, like something that’s the matter with me that I’m secretly ashamed of.  And that couldn’t be further from the truth.

So, after listening to that little voice inside of me instead of telling it to be more reasonable, I’m hitting “publish,” and now it’s out there:

I am bipolar.

There.  I’ve said it.  And I don’t regret it.  I hope you don’t, either.

 

Why Am I Sharing This Now?

I’ve been asking myself that question repeatedly over the 3 weeks or so I’ve had this post in the “draft“ folder.  What am I hoping to accomplish with this?

My main reason for keeping it on the DL has always been that I don’t want to Make a Big Deal about this.  I don’t want it to be a game changer.  I don’t want it to become this big, huge, colossal Thing.  But lately, I’ve come to realize something:  Not sharing this, keeping it under wraps and acting like it doesn’t exist, makes it into a big, huge, colossal Thing. Because it implies that it’s something I’m embarrassed about—something I ought to be embarrassed about.  The kind of thing that’s just Best Not Talked About.

And I just don’t believe that anymore.  For a while I did.  But as I’ve learned to accept it and come to terms with it, maintaining secrecy has started to feel more and more ridiculous.  I don’t have anything to be ashamed of.  My illness isn’t “me” any more than my lactose intolerance is. But, it is a part of my story, and something I’d occasionally like to write about.  Having a section of my life in the shadows doesn’t feel good to me.  I’m tired of stigmatizing this with my silence.

 

What BP Means for Me

 

1. I’ve Gone Through Some Not-So-Great Times

I didn’t recognize it at the time, but looking back now, I realize I spent most of my college life under a muddy haze of depressiveness.  At the time, I thought I’d just suddenly turned incredibly sucky–that I was the reason I no longer cared about classes, barely hung out with anyone, and lost hold of the glamorous writer-editor-journalist career I’d always dreamt of having.

Most of the reason I slid quietly into the 9-5 office world after graduating was because I’d done nothing in all 4 years of college to set myself up for the life I’d really wanted.  I used to beat myself up over this like crazy–how could I just let everything slide like that?  Why hadn’t I kicked myself into shape?  Maybe I’d never really cared about my dreams all that much after all…?

I’m just now beginning to realize that I wasn’t really “me” in college–or the first couple years after college, either, when I went to work, came home, and sat in front of the TV till I fell asleep each night, hating myself for it.  I’m just now beginning to realize I need to stop blaming myself for things that are over and done with. It’s never too late to get back on track.

 

2. I’ve Gone Through Some Not-So-Great Times That Seemed Phenomenal at the Time

Anyone who has BP can tell you:  the highs feel spectacular.  You’re a bundle of excited energy.  You start a million grand new projects.  It feels like parking spots open up just for you and every commercial you see is the universe’s special message to you.  You feel like you can do anything.  You don’t sleep as much, you don’t eat as much, you just go, go, go!

My low periods in college and afterwards were punctuated by random and sudden bursts of this kind of manic enthusiasm.  Every time a high hit, I felt like this was the turnaround I’d been waiting for.  This was the point where my ridiculous slump broke and I got back to being me again.  It was brilliant while it lasted, but it just made me feel that much worse when the slump settled back over me and all the new clubs I’d joined and new projects I’d started were ultimately neglected

Another aspect of the high phases, which I never considered until I started researching BP, were my rampant shopping sprees.  Most of the credit card debt I’m fighting to pay down was spent on the new wardrobes I was convinced I needed as part of my “reinvent myself” rampages.  This doesn’t excuse the underlying recklessness and irresponsibility of my actions, but it helps me feel a little less like a moron to know I was acting as an extreme version of myself.

 

3. I’m Acutely Aware of My Moods

You’d think someone with BP would be at their mercy, and I was before I was aware of what was going on with me.  But now that I’ve read everything I can about it and spent years getting familiar with the way it affects me, I monitor myself like a lab rat.  I can tell when I start to go off track, I can spot my symptoms coming, and I know what needs to be done to get myself back in line if I start to veer.  It’s just like managing diabetes or any other lifelong ailment.  You learn to take care of yourself.  It’s entirely do-able.

 

4. I’m Better Now

Really, truly, and sincerely, I feel a million times better now than I have in years.  There’s no need to feel sorry for me or worry about me.  I keep an eye on myself, I make sure I get enough sleep and sun and vitamins, I make regular visits to my crazy doctor, and I take my crazy meds.  Yes, us crazies get to say things like “crazy meds.”  That picture up top is a picture of my fantastic pill case, courtesy of the awesomeness that is Etsy.

I’m o.k. with laughing at my craziness. I don’t mind if you are, too.  (But I also don’t mind if it makes you a little uncomfortable.  I completely understand.)

 

What My BP Doesn’t Mean

 

1. I Am Not a Liability…

…any more than anyone with a health problem is.  Just like having migraine headaches or a peanut allergy or a wonky eye, my BP doesn’t mean that I’m any weaker or more volatile than anyone else.  I can handle stress.  I can handle heavy workloads.  I can kick out the jams on any number of work and personal projects, and I can do it in circles around your average workaday punk.  (Not to brag or anything.)  I work hard, and I’m proud of it.  Anything normal people can do, I can do, too.  Unless it’s math.  I suck at math.

 

2. I Am Not Fragile

My biggest fear in admitting this has always been that it will change the way people see me. That they’ll start treating me with kid gloves in case I have a breakdown.  I don’t want anyone at work to hesitate before giving me a big project.  I don’t want my friends to start pussyfooting around me if I’m in a bad mood, or family members at Christmas asking me searchingly if I feel o.k.?

I’m not on a short fuse.  I won’t suddenly start crying for no apparent reason.  I can handle fear and disappointment and sadness just like any other grownup.  Sometimes I throw a minor tantrum if I have to do the dishes, but that’s nothing to do with the BP.  That’s just a personal thing.

 

3. I Am Not Ashamed of My BP

To be quite honest, I’m actually pretty damn proud of how far I’ve come and how well I’ve learned to manage this.  The biggest compliment I could get in response to this post would be for someone who knows me to read it and say, “Oh wow, I had no idea.”  Nope, you didn’t.  Because it’s not my be all and end all.  It’s just a thing that happens to me sometimes, that I’ve learned to live with.

 

 Where Do We Go From Here?

Absolutely nowhere that we weren’t going in the first place.

I have no intention to make this blog about a bipolar girl or her bipolar issues.  My Novel is the place where I’m going to really wallow in that whole scene, but this blog will continue to be what it’s always been.  My BP is just one tiny part of everything going on in my life. I wanted to be able to address it, but I’m not going to focus on it.  I have better things to do with my life.

I also have an upcoming guest post that will get into some more background on my personal adventure into craziness and the doubts I had while debating this reveal.  I’m really excited (-slash-nervous) for this post to come out and will be announcing it here when it does.

But, this post doesn’t change anything, at least not for me.  If it makes you uncomfortable, feel free to step away or just pretend it never happened.  If it helped you in some way or made you think a little differently of “mental illness” (how I hate that term, incidentally), then that’s brilliant.  If you know me in real life, and you want to let me know that you know that I’m crazy, you’re welcome to give me a sly nod or wink and make a Charlie Sheen reference.  I’m cool with that.

But you don’t have to.  It’s totally up to you.  I’m fine with whatever, and I hope you are too.

 

For Further Information

If you’re interested in learning more about recognizing, treating, and coping with mental illness, here are some resources that I’ve found to be helpful.  Don’t go it alone.  There  are so many of us out there ready to help, and seeing a professional is the first step towards recovery.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Mayo Clinic – Mental Illness

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

American Psychiatric Association

Image: Etsy

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  • Kelly,

    Thanks for this brave and important piece. And congratulations on opening up and sharing it with the world. I hope that finally posting it and revealing your “dirty little secret” is the liberating means to propel you to new heights.

    Incredibly, over at my own blog today (in about 20 minutes), I’ve written a long “exposé” piece on my personal history of depression, including a bunch of “dirty little secret” details that I have never shared with anyone in my life–let alone online.

    I think your story will help others open up in their lives, realize that bipolar disorder is not an unconscionable beast that will totally control their lives, and especially help people to better understand what it’s like to NOT have BP — that there’s nothing to tip-toe around or fear when someone you know has it.

    And, I hope my post on depression will help do the same!

    Much love and all my best,

    Dave

    • We’ve already backed & forthed over it, but I’ll say again how much I admire your post. (And how much good conversation it’s generating!) Every person that opens up about issues like this reduces the stigma around them and gives comfort and encouragement to people in similar situations. I know how tough it is to come out with a post like this–I totally admire you for doing it.

  • Cordelia’s Mom

    Wow, I never knew that, and I know you better than pretty much anyone. I always just thought it was normal teenage stuff, followed by normal college and post-college stress, along with depression over broken relationships with old boyfriends, all of which seemed to miraculously disappear once you got older, got married, and got a dog. Didn’t know it was actually “crazy drugs.” Love you anyway. Oh, and how ARE you feeling today? Everything OK? Do I need to hide out in a different area of the building after you read this?

    • Mom: You’re safe.

      Cordelia note to readers: I did tell my mom about all this before publishing this post. Didn’t want anyone to think she suddenly learned about it on my blog for the first time. That would be pretty awful of me.

  • Thank you for writing this! I have had Panic Disorder my whole life (diagnosed when I was 16) and wow does it feel good to say it! I think the biggest hurdle for me was thinking that I would be a liability, but as you mention I think the complete opposite is true. I proudly take my “crazy meds” each and everyday. I also like to think that I’ve helped many people in life recognize that there is no reason to be afraid; there is no difference between being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, OCD, BiPolar Disorder or any other health problem (diabetes, angina, high blood pressure).

    BTW… “I never would’ve known!”

    Congratulations on this fantastic post! Much appreciated!

    • I never would’ve known about *you*, either! You’re always so on top of things!

      I used to have panic attacks, and I know how not cool they can be. I’m so glad you’ve got things under control! I would never think less of you or anyone else for having them–if anything, it makes me think more of you for being strong enough to not only deal with them but to realize that they don’t have to hold you back. Thanks for sharing this with me. 🙂

  • I don’t have anything deep to add, just wanted to say: you rock! Great post!

    • Thanks, Cara! You’ve been a huge help. 🙂

  • mel

    dude, kell, so much to say. but of course i have to start with “MORE MANIC, LESS DEPRESSIVE!” i sincerely hope you are not offended (and haven’t been all these years), but it’s so totally even MORE your motto now!! (right? good god i hope so…)

    and then also YOU ROCK SO MUCH for posting this. i’m all on board with the “mental health crap is not a big deal so stop with the stigma” thing. also i really want one of those sweet cases for my own crazy pills.

    and then also i truly never would have known. i mean, i know we’re both insane but i don’t think i would ever have guessed bipolarity. and it kinda makes me wish i had purchased this piece of art that i saw at a coffee shop recently, where they were displaying art by kids with “issues,” and this little boy had painted one polar bear at the bottom of the canvas, and an upside-down polar bear at the top of the canvas, and it was titled “bi-polar.” perhaps i will recreate it for you. it was spectacular.

    yes, and as charlie sheen would say, you are BI-WINNING. 🙂

    • Offended? Are you kidding? I’ve been waiting for the chance to use that on a piece of writing for YEARS! 😛 I want to make sure it’s something big and important enough, though–I don’t want to squander it. I’m thinking maybe the title to my Novel…?

      Totally check out etsy. They have lots of fantastic pill cases. It took me a while to decide on just one!

      And I will absoLUTELY take a rendition of that drawing. It sounds spectacular. Whoever that little kid is, I would like to find him and give him a high five. 🙂

  • Welcome to a long and glorious tradition of “Artists with Brain Chemistry Issues”. 😉 (Interestingly, science has been finding that there really is, in fact, a correlation between the two.) The difference nowadays is that we have medications that allow for the creative aspects to carry on, while toning down the impulse to, say, chop off an ear.

    Personally, I’ve never understood the stigma and freak-outs about “mental” illnesses. To me, there’s no difference between a brain that doesn’t respond to chemical signals properly and an immune system that does the same thing. Really, there isn’t, except in how the body responds to the misinterpreted signal. Then again, my opinions are formed from personal experiences with family history, anxiety issues and two nervous breakdowns of my own, and coursework in human anatomy and physiology…

    I guess what I’m trying to say here is thank you for sharing; no, I had no idea; and this changes nothing except maybe to make me think you even more brave for coming out and talking about it, knowing that some people may be weirded out by it. 🙂

    • Brilliant. I often say I want some of Sylvia Plath’s poetic genius without the concurrent desire to stick my head in an oven. You & I seem to be right on the same page. 😛

      You’re so right–all “mental illness” really comes down to is a chemical imbalance in the brain–a physical, scientific issue that can be corrected with the proper medication. It’s just like taking heart pills for a heart issue or insulin for diabetes; sometimes our bodies don’t work the way they should, but thanks to modern medicine, we can fix that and get on with our lives. If only more people looked at it that way, I think the stigma would lose a lot of its power.

      Thanks for the support. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  • I really appreciate your balls in admitting this. It’s so important for their to be a discussion about important issues such as bipolar disorder in order to make it something other than “that scary thing nobody mentions.”
    I have liver disease.
    … So what?
    I will talk about it with anybody and everybody whenever it comes up. No big deal.
    This is how we make people unafraid of things — by starting communication on the topic.
    So thanks. 🙂

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

    • Exactly! Dialogue and openness go a long way. Hear, hear! (And thanks for the support!) 🙂

  • Hey! I just wanted to say: Yay for coming out of the crazy closet!! I have The Crazy also – only mine is depression flavour – so I’m allowed to say stuff like this too!! (I don’t have crazy pills though. I have the Happy Pills.)

    • Mmmm Happy Pills… 😛

      Part of the reason I wanted to come out with this is because you and a bunch of other people I follow have talked about their issues, and I have SO wanted to be able to respond to let you know that I really do know what you’re going through. But I felt like I had to leave unspecific comments because I didn’t want to reveal my own problems. And that’s just plain ridiculous. Being able to talk about this (and laugh about it!) makes so much difference.

      I consider myself honored to be a member of the Crazy Club. 🙂

  • I don’t take that the wrong way at all–it’s actually exactly how I’d prefer people react!

    I had no idea you’d struggled with issues like that before (I only just started reading your fantastic blog–maybe it was in a previous post?) but I never cease to be amazed how many people I know and admire wind up having their own crazinesses that they’re dealing with. (To whit: see my friend Dave’s comment and post below.)

    • I don’t talk about in on my blog that much anymore, but my posts for the first year or so were all about the OCD, depression, etc. I’m not ashamed of my battles at all, but I find that I have much less interest in talking about them over and over and instead try to blog out of my head a bit more at times now.

      Some of the most “sane” people I’ve met have been “crazy” diagnostically, but yet they have an understanding of themselves and others that “normal” people lack. Present company included.

      • “‘Some of the most ‘sane’ people I’ve met have been ‘crazy’ diagnostically, but yet they have an understanding of themselves and others that ‘normal’ people lack.”

        Wholeheartedly agreed! It’s the same as people who are broke who then wind up becoming incredibly financially responsible–because they’ve taken the time to examine their habits and practices and now make their decisions deliberately. “The unexamined life” and so on… 🙂

  • Claire

    I have Bipolar II. I wish more people would speak out about it so people would realize that seemingly “normal” people are actually diagnosed Bipolar. There is still such a huge stigma surrounding mental illness that simply doesn’t exist with physical illness.

    I totally relate to what you’ve written here…with one exception. Although I barely sleep when I’m in a hypomanic state, I LOVE to eat and actually eat the most when I’m hypomanic. Food just tastes SO GOOD to me. My tastebuds are definitely heightened when I’m hypomanic. 🙂

    • I’m the exact opposite food-wise–I eat a TON when I’m feeling low, mainly because “comfort food” like baked goods and chocolate momentarily make me feel better.

      I’m so glad you shared your BP with me here–it really does help knowing there are others out there!

  • You know what? Me too. I failed out of college and lost a full scholarship because of it. While I have not been formally diagnosed, that is only because I asked my psychologist not to.

    I was on medication for a while, but weaned myself off with the supervision of my psychologist, about 6 years ago – notice I said “supervision”, not “recommendation”.

    You can live with it, if you choose to. I still have highs and lows, and there are days that it takes every single ounce of willpower I have to get dressed and go to work – but there are also days where I get more accomplished in a few hours than I would in two weeks of “normal” times.

    I’ve decided that this is just how I work. I could take medication that would level me out, and I may go back to that if it is unmanageable at some point in the future; but as it is, I would rather work with it than struggle against it. The older I get, the more I am able to recognize when I’m going into a “down” period, and guard against it impacting my day-to-day performance. I’m also somewhat able to trigger “mini-highs”, where I can harness that manic state to get something done in time for a deadline, even if only for a few hours.

    Kudos on being able to talk about it. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I’m comfortable speaking on the subject.

    • I do something similar in terms of riding out my waves. I can tell when I’m starting to feel low, so I’ve learned to take it easier on myself and accept the fact that I won’t be able to get so much done those days. And during particularly energetic periods, I try to tackle as much as I can to hedge against those times when I won’t be feeling so productive.

      Congrats to *you* for learning to recognize your ups and downs and to manage them to fit your life better. Knowledge is such a huge part of the battle!

  • Clare Bear

    Your total acceptance of yourself is really inspiring.

    • Thanks, Clare. 🙂 Everyone’s support means a ton to me.

  • Thanks, Ollin! You’ve been a good blogger friend and inspiration for me since the beginning. I’m very glad to have you around!

  • Frugalforties

    You know what .. go you! 🙂 Being BP is tough. So is having diabetes, or having thyroid disease, or having cancer. Taking meds for any of those things is .. well, it just is. I tell people all the time that having to take meds or get counseling is no different from any other disease that affects our bodies/brains. Or, I guess, as @Abby said .. “so?”

    🙂

    We’re all crazy in our own ways. We all have physical/mental/emotional issues to deal with. When more people start coming out the way you do and just saying “this is who I am”, we’ll be far better off as a society.

    Let’s take the stigma out of depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental issues. Illness is illness. We deal with it and move on with our lives!

    • “We’re all crazy in our own ways. We all have physical/mental/emotional issues to deal with.”

      Exactly! Even if someone can’t relate to the specific issue you have, everyone has something that they’re struggling with, some way in which they’re different than everyone else. And no one wants to be defined by their limits or ailments.

  • Jonathan Manor

    Wow Cordelia, I’m really happy I found you on Ashley Ambridge’s blog. If you want to read the long comment I left on Ashley’s blog that’d be cool, but I just want to say that’s it’s really cool that you’re moving forward and not letting this keep you from doing that. I really like your story, and the fact that you’re writing a novel is great. We should talk more, I’m sort of a novel writer myself. I’m going to add you on twitter because I think you’re cool. Hope you’re doing okay.

    🙂

    • Hey, Jonathan. I’m so glad you found me! Leaving you a response over at the TMF post now!

  • I have mental illness in my family. I will spare you the details but suffice it to say if others had the “this is who I am, I am as perfect and imperfect as the rest of you,” mentality that you have, then we’d have a lot less problems all around. Unfortunately, still, things like cancer or diabetes elicit sympathy while mental illness is more about silence, shame and “what did I do wrong” or “I hope it’s not catching.” You are freakin awesome, no matter what chemicals are and/or are not firing and/or misfiring in your brain.
    xo

    • Thanks, Allison. Consider it my own version of “loving my mess”–my mess being in my brain. Or is it non-P.C. to say that? Oh well, as a crazy, I have the right to. 😛

      • As a fellow crazy, I hereby deem it P.C. to say that and whatever else you wish!

  • It’s strange, I was born this way… by that I mean I’ve been like this all my life. I can’t imagine being a normie and then all of a sudden watching it fall away.  That must have been horrible. I’ve known I was “wrong,” “off,” “different” all my life. It is status quo for me. Can’t miss what you never had you know? My hat’s off to you, you are wonderful in my book – as a person and a writer!

    • Aww, thank you!  You’re pretty fantastic yourself.  🙂

      I’ve had that thought myself–what does it feel like to be “normal”?  Part of the reason I avoided meds for a while (and then went off my first meds) was because they made me feel too “muted,” like instead of feeling TONS OF EMOTIONS all the time, I wasn’t really feeling anything at all.  Now, I’m on the right RX cocktail so that I can avoid all the extreme highs and lows but still feel like *myself*.

      It goes back to the debate over madness’s connection with creativity, too.  Would Sylvia Plath have written the masterpieces she did if she wasn’t dealing with BP?  Or would she have lived longer to write *more* stuff if she’d gotten it under control?

      It’s all about what YOU feel comfortable with and what formula best lets you live your life the way you feel right living it.  Personally, letting my BP take total control derailed some serious years in my life…one particular med took me way too far in the other direction…and now I’m on the “just right” level in between.  All my best to you in your journey with it, too–I love the humor you bring to it on your blog!

  • Pingback: The Hope That Awaits Writers Who Struggle With Bipolar Depression « Courage 2 Create()

  • Candida Abrahamson

    As a therapist, and a close family member to one who suffers from bipolar disease, I commend your action. I did a number of posts on secrets, why and how to reveal them [the practical issues come around http://candidaabrahamson.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/privacy-secrets-and-shame-part-iv-on-the-edge-of-discovery/%5D, and I found in my research and writings that secrecy is almost always tied up with shame. You have done nothing wrong, and have done nothing to feel shame for. One of these posts addresses the research on the harm–actual physical harm–we do ourselves by keeping secrets (see http://candidaabrahamson.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/privacy-secrets-and-shame-part-ix-why-to-reveal-a-secret/). You have nothing to be ashamed of, and I hope you have begun a journey that allows a freer part of yourself to exist–in health.

    • Thank you so much–for your kind words and for writing about this so that others dealing with these issues can find their way through.  You are completely right; secrecy for me equaled a feeling of shame that I knew I didn’t “deserve.”  I hope that by realizing that, and sharing it here, I can help others who are feeling the same struggle realize that they have nothing to hide, and that their disease is not a statement of who they are or what they’re capable of.

  • Rob

    Thanks for sharing. I am personally thankful that I do not know you. I am absolutely pleased that I will never meet you. I had my own hell on earth by my in-laws 27 year bipolar secrets. I am single now, financially destroyed, but in my soul I am free of those monsters. Have a nice one & stay away from me.

    • I am so sorry to hear that your in-laws treated you so badly you now believe all people suffering from BP to be monsters. I sincerely hope you are able to get the counseling you need to get over this anger and hostility. Your words hurt only yourself by digging you deeper into that black hole. Best wishes.

  • Ac

    Glad for you that “bp is only one part of your life”, not everything. I’ve been bp for 23 years now, and it has been the most important part of my life during this period. Mostly in a sad way. I struggle, suffer and waste away every day.

    • I understand your pain. I lived it throughout college, and it was awful. But please don’t give up hope. There are meds and counselors out there who can help you find your way to “normal” again–you just need to find them. It may take a little time, but I promise you CAN get better. Are you seeing anyone now for your bp? If not, please do!

  • Ang

    Wow. Thank you. You said so many things that were spot on for me. I don’t want to feel ashamed anymore. I just want to be honest about who I am. Bipolar disorder doesn’t define me, it’s just a puzzle piece. If others want to treat me differently then it’s their problem, not mine.

    • Exactly! You have no more reason to be ashamed of being BP than someone has of being ashamed of having diabetes. If anything, being someone who’s overcome everything that comes with BP means that you’re a survivor who’s really learned how to handle things. Celebrate that strength and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!

  • I LOVE this post! I try to be very open about having bipolar disorder but I do get that hesitant feeling sometimes due to social stigmas. But then I have to remind myself they stigmas will never get better until people start being more honest and transparent. In my family bipolar is pretty normal so that definitely helps with my mindset. We joke about it with each other which is surprisingly refreshing.

    And you know what? Even though it’s a pain sometimes, I wouldn’t magically get rid of it if I could. I’m not entirely sure how it impacts my personality and I like me the way I am.

    • I feel the same way. It’s made me (and still makes me) who I am, and in spite of everything I’ve gone through because of it, I don’t think I would change having it. I would change the WAY I handled it at times, but not who it’s made me or what I’ve learned because of it.

      You’re lucky your family is so supportive! Mine has gotten used to me being tongue-in-cheek about my craziness, but I think it definitely took a lot of getting used to on their part. 🙂

      • It’s largely genetic so maybe it meant they had to face some of their own demons they had repressed. My mom regularly refers to her doctor as her shrink jokingly and it explains why the older women in my family are so fucking mean but most of the men won’t accept it. They just drink.

  • Shortie

    WOW! you are an inspiration =) So many people struggle with this and are ashamed of talking about it ( or feel its not something that needs to be mentioned ( which is their right) BUT, when someone does, it educates all of us, it makes us think twice

    • Thank you. I really wanted to let others know that it’s perfectly alright to talk about this–in fact, not talking about it only gives it the stigma that keeps people ashamed. It’s just a health condition like any other, so you shouldn’t be any more embarrassed by it than you would if you had diabetes or any other health condition.