This April will mark 9 years since I got my diagnosis. Bipolar disorder. To be specific, bipolar I, mixed phases, rapid cycling. I’m bipolar, I can experience mania and depression together, and it all can change on a dime.
I finally had an answer to why. Why I could become so angry and throw a comb because my hair wouldn’t curl right. I had a reason for over reacting to stress and drama. I had a reason for my poor decisions and bad behavior.
I had a crutch I could blame, that I thought would somehow absolve me of any responsibility and the consequences of my actions. I could just blame it all on my chemically imbalanced brain. It couldn’t possibly be my fault.
Except it was.
If you can not take the blame for any of your poor decisions, then you are not entitled to take the credit for the good ones.
I have been told that I am one of the most self-aware person with bipolar disorder. My favorite therapist told me that. But being self-aware does not always mean you do what is best in any given situation.
There have been times that I knew I was dangerously manic. I was almost vibrating from the energy and the drive to do, to go. I knew that having a drink or two or five every night wasn’t the answer, but I had them anyway.
When you experience mania with depression, you feel so hopeless and empty, and angry. You cry for hours on end, and then you rage, or you run away, or drive for hours, with the depression whispering in your ear “right off the next bridge and it all goes away” or “cross the center line and you never have to feel this way again”.
I am here today for a reason. I woke up from a suicide attempt, January 2, 2014 with an absolute certain knowledge that I have a purpose here. I don’t know what that purpose is, but I know I am supposed to be here.
So I will tell my story. I will tell of the struggles, and I will tell of the victories. I will tell my story again and again, so that even one person hears it and knows there is hope beyond the diagnosis.