Yep, it's that time of year and this is my contribution to the Say It Forward Campaign in hopes that it will help more people better understand this mental illness.
I'll let you in on a little secret. I am Bipolar. If you're wondering just what Bipolar is, take a look here.
In addition to PTSD, I was diagnosed with Bipolar, or the older name for it, Manic Depression, by my then therapist when I was thirteen. I didn't really understand what that was at the time. The idea that something was 'wrong' with me was frightening and felt like an insult. I didn't want to be Bipolar. I wanted to be 'normal', so naturally I resisted the idea. But it didn't go away as I hoped it would.
When I moved to Arkansas when I was fifteen, I lost access to a therapist and to the medication that I had been taking(admittedly on and off, because I hated taking meds). So, for the past 9 years, I have been untreated. For a while, I thought I was doing good, that I would be fine and could live perfectly normal without help. I was wrong.
Over the years, it has gradually gotten worse. I live and struggle with several of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Manic 'high' periods, where I'm taken over by an over-confident, can-do attitude... that tends to get me making hasty decisions that I end up regretting afterward. They are usually followed by depressive episodes, where I feel that everything I am and do is worth less than dirt and I just want to quit life to become a burrito. Some days it is hard to convince myself to even get out of bed, much less write anything, and other days I'm so 'high' on hyper that I can't sit down and focus for even the length of a typical song. I also have difficulty in making and sticking to decisions, if you couldn't already tell from past blog posts and the pen name changes I've made. This is by no means all of it, but it is what effects me the most.
I still don't like it, but now that I'm grown and have done some research on it for myself, I know that it is true. And I'm coming to grips with it. Besides, it would be irresponsible of me to continue to brush off the issue and pretend it is nothing, when lately I've started having suicidal thoughts. So, today, I will be setting up an appointment to get myself treatment.
If you believe that you might have Bipolar, please don't be like me and wait years before you get help for yourself. As frustrating as Bipolar is to live with, it is nothing to be ashamed of.
And for those of you who don't, I'm not asking for your pity. I only ask that you please bear with me and try to understand that I'm doing the best that I can with what I've been given.
To end on a more positive note, I will try to have another flash fiction story up soon for you to enjoy.
Be well, all!