Living with Bipolar Disorder means conducting a life that just doesn’t make sense. Unfortunately, it’s our life and we have to live it.
So, I woke up this morning feeling okay. Well, I had a cold and a lot of work that needed to be done around the house, but I felt pretty good. I took the kids to school, made coffee and sat down to eat breakfast. I accidentally knocked my coffee into the floor wasting that deep rich goodness. Living with bipolar disorder meant having a unique outlook on spilled coffee, as you will see.
Yeah, seems like nothing, I know. But to me, knocking that cup of coffee onto the floor didn’t just mean “Oops, I spilled my drink”, it really meant,
“Now, I had to clean up the coffee and then my food would get cold. When I warm my food again, it would mean I had to also make another cup of coffee. Who needs coffee anyway, right, so I can bypass the coffee and maybe pour a soda. But what if the ice isn’t frozen, then the whole idea of soda is bust. Back to coffee… I do want coffee, right? Maybe I should have orange juice instead. That’s better for my health and after all, I do have a cold. I need water, I just remembered how dehydrated I was yesterday.”
I was manic, to begin with, striving to get loads of work completed. By the time I spilled my coffee, I was at the end spectrum, diving into irritability and down the regret shoot to depression. Don’t understand? Keep reading.
What happened here?
I will tell you what happened, living with Bipolar Disorder means Mania. This is the mind of Bipolar Disorder, plain and simple. There is no set of rules, there is no clean cut details and indicators. Bipolar Disorder is like a soup of all mental illnesses.
The mind of bipolar is full, confused and guilt-ridden, not to mention alert when not trying to shut down. Maybe this post will help you understand the disorder, and then maybe it will make you want to run in the other direction. One thing is for certain, it will tell the truth. Sometimes, the truth is ugly.
Living with Bipolar Disorder means OCD
I tried to leave, I did. I had only about 15 minutes to make it to my destination and I was running late. But…I had to make sure the stove was off, so I ran back inside the house and checked. It was off and so I turned around heading down the back steps.
At the bottom, I stopped and wondered if the stove was off. I told myself, “yes”, I just checked. But it was on, I just knew it. So I raced back up the steps and into the kitchen. I checked – one, two, three, and four indicators – plus the stove indicator was off as well. I turned to leave, almost to the door and then asked myself…
“Is the stove off?”
I guess this is silly to you, maybe not. I guess then it all depends on how often you deal with this sort of thing, either with yourself or with others. This, plus cleaning till your hands are red, color-coordinating cereal and numbering socks-we do it too, the bipolar patient actually feels anal and paranoid.
Living with Bipolar Disorder means Anxiety
He wasn’t home yet, and I knew he said he would be right back. I talked to him earlier, seemed like a normal conversation – he asked me if I needed anything from the store and I said no… but he wasn’t home yet. Maybe he was in an accident, maybe he decided to skip town or maybe he was angry. Did I say something to make him angry? Surely, I did. That was it. My heart was racing and I could barely breathe because I knew I had gone to far and made him angry.
I put on my shoes, wrote a note and left, tripping down the steps in an anxious hurry. I drove around town crying because I knew if I looked long enough I would find him, apologize for something I didn’t even remember doing and then he would come home. I hate this, and I hate when I screw up.
He came home, wondered where I was and went to bed. I rushed back eventually, waking him and questioning him about where he had been. He said he got held up in traffic because of an accident. He wasn’t angry and he wasn’t hurt. It took a while but I finally calmed down. Yeah, I really did that… but there’s more.
Bipolar Disorder is Depression
I woke up but I don’t know if I was really awake. Outside my window, the sun was shining bright and the birds were singing, but in my head, it was dark. For some reason, my brain could not communicate with my eyes and coordinate. Everything around my room was gray and so was the inside of my mouth and my mind. I was dehydrated and felt helpless. In a moment, I understood completely.
I was supposed to die today, I needed to and I wanted to. I lay there and worked out all the details of how it should be done. I passed up several options and settled on the way I would do it. Then there was a knock at the door and I listened carefully. After a few more knocks, whoever it was left and I breathed a sigh of relief. Now, what was I thinking?
Oh yeah, I need to clean out the refrigerator. That was it. Depression is just this brutal and just this confusing. This is no exaggeration, unfortunately.
Bipolar Disorder means Psychosis
From childhood, I remember you, both of you: death and the fairy. Some call you the imaginary friend, but I call you the ones who stopped my abuser from attacking me.
One day, my medication took you away, so it also took away a part of me so deeply engrained and interwoven with you. I remember nights crying for you to return, my psychotic tendencies because, without you, I didn’t feel whole.
I guess not everyone’s psychosis manifests as strongly as mine, but when it does, reality is already obscured. What was fantasy feels like the only real thing that’s left. My living with bipolar disorder was normal, as normal as my friends from childhood. Everything else was weird.
Is this all real or just a dream?
It’s not all in our heads, well, it is actually but it’s more than that. Living with Bipolar Disorder is living with a brain which has altered structures. Thinking processes are completely different, as well as size, from those without mental disorders. For instance, the prefrontal cortex is affected by this illness, and shrinks if the disorder is aloud to progress, it also lacks in facial recognition abilities. One a positive note, the bipolar brain seems to utilize mania episodes usefully.
I’m sorry if what I tell you feels convoluted, but this is what happens inside my head. It’s not neat and clean, it is disjointed and scrambled. I have good days, mind you, like today, maybe today… well, it’s a semi-good day anyway.
I’m sorry, I’m having a bad day and I need to watch television.
Because, for some reason, staring mindlessly at a television screen for hours always makes things easier to digest. Some call us crazy some call us lazy, but we’re just another color, another shape and only human. Living with Bipolar disorder is just that. If you find this disturbing and a little too much to take, how do you think we feel?
This is life…