Let’s lay it all out on the table right now. I am mildly bipolar, I know, it has such a negative ring to it. I also deal with an anxiety disorder to just top it all off. I watched my parents almost go through one of the messiest divorces ever and I was dragged right through it all and used as a weapon of mass destruction. Believe me, my parents are good people but, we were all in a time of weakness and sadness in our lives. Anyways, long story short: they ended up getting back together--la la la la, happy music plays--and we’re all fine. Well, in reality, it’s not perfect. Even to this day, if my parents don’t come home on time I still think they must have left me. This anxiety has been there my whole life. I can even remember as a child feeling nervous and on edge for no reason, but this event really brought it out. For about two years after the event if I heard a door open late at night I was sure that one of my parents was leaving me. After this event, I would get really sad for absolutely reason. I would cry and cry or I would be oddly irritable. My parents just thought it was my hormones changing but these feelings didn’t go away. Then, in a few days I was happy, on top of the freakin’ world. I began to believe that this was normal and that everyone must feel this way and that there was nothing wrong with me. The divorce happened in the 5th grade and for seven years after that, I lived a life of high mountains and short valleys.
After dating for two years, my boyfriend broke up with me and my bipolar broke out in an all-new fashion. As a result I finally went to a doctor. My ex-boyfriend had seen the signs while we were dating, and knew that I needed to see someone. However, I was far too prideful to listen... “There’s nothing wrong with me,” I would tell myself. But I learned quickly that it’s okay not to be perfect, that having something wrong with you isn’t the end of the world.
My first doctor’s appointment was in the middle of band camp. My boyfriend and I had just gone on a “break”, and we were trying it out again but we were still on the rocks. I wasn’t yet eighteen so my father had to come with me. I was scared to let it all out in front of him. I didn’t want him to think he raised this loser who can’t take care of her own feelings. So during that first appointment, I was very reserved and just laid down basic issues. Nothing too in depth, which it needed to be. So she prescribed a pill for me. I remember getting my pills the next day and my dad handing them to me saying, “Well, here’s your new reality.”. Yes it was, it was a sad reality though. Sometimes anti-anxiety meds can take you the other way. They did for me. I threatened to kill myself about three times when I was on the wrong pills. They made me have strange side effects like shaking and I completely stopped eating. I lost eleven pounds within a month and a half. Finally I started going to my doctor without a parent and I laid everything out for her. Every feeling, every event, and anything really that’s when I found out I dealt with a “mood disorder”. My high highs and my low lows weren’t normal, as it turns out. So she gave me a mood stabilizer mixed with my new anxiety medication that actually works for me now.
Here are some things I learned about being mildly bipolar that I feel many people don’t know:
-It isn’t just happy and sad (the funny thing is it’s not that polarized) the waves can come in random feelings of anxiety or feelings of utter irritability., I mean, this is in addition to happiness and sadness. Just laying in bed with the lights off isn’t always my “lowest” point.
These moods can change within a short span of time. One minute I’m down completely on my luck and in about a half hour I’m totally fine and can continue with my day.
-Being bipolar doesn’t make you so insanely different from everyone else, having a mood disorder is just a chemical imbalance.
-None of this is your fault, at all, in anyway shape or form. Don’t blame yourself for these problems because I know I blamed myself plenty.
This is just one story out of the many, many, many stories of mental illness. I have run into people who say my meds are just a crutch and I don’t need them. I probably won’t need them for the rest of my life, but for right now, yes I need them. I have had suicidal thoughts many times in the past few months. If you look at my hands I am often missing full nails, and even on my toes, I don’t really have all my nails. My doctor says it’s a form of self harm, the high I get off of the peeling is not normal. I’ve been working on it lately so that by prom I can get fake nails (because you need nails under them to begin with). I am currently only missing two nails and luckily my nails grow back really fast.
This is a tale to tell people that mental illness is okay, even though at the same time it’s not. If you deal with it you’re not a loser or crazy or a freak or anything, you’re human. You just have a chemical imbalance, it does not make you some weird thing that everyone frowns upon, I only say this because I know I felt that way. Please, if you suffer from this and you don’t know how to get help please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, seeing someone will only help you. I know what it’s like to feel stuck in your own head and I know that seeing someone made me see the light at the end of a very long tunnel.