I’ve been catching up with a friend this week, and she was curious to know about bipolar. The reasons why aren’t of particular import — as long as someone wants to educate themselves on the subject, I am happy to offer my experiences and insights. And I figure, it’s probably a good thing to post here too:
‘For me, it was just trying to hunker down and make it day to day without exploding on too many people. I couldn’t do anything in the Air Force because I would have lost my clearance (you can’t have bipolar and top secret, as stupid as that is). I sobered up about a year after moving here, and then just kept hunkering down. I know I wasn’t okay ’cause I kept having to take months off of work because I couldn’t even deal with being around my family (work was, and is currently, at my in-law’s house). It wasn’t until after my daughter was born that I finally found the strength to try to push through for the diagnosis.
Before that, yeah, I’d had friends tell me that they thought I was bipolar, but before moving here, there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Once I got here to the UK… I don’t really know what took me so long to getting around to asking for help.
I guess it was as I said before — there’s a big control factor in it. If you don’t have any spoons (http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/), then you absolutely 500% do not have the resources to deal with being dismissed or treated like you’re an attention-seeker. Add in the American phobia of pharmaceuticals after our generation has been told at length that meds will make you a zombie, would you want to risk losing control to lose who you are? Better to deal with the internal rapids, because they are your own (it seems). There is almost a pride to know that you have made it another day on your own steam while your brain tried to kill you (and I do not dramatize there – to live with bipolar is to live with your brain trying to kill you. End of).
I will say that in my favour, I made a commitment from an early age to self-awareness and self-improvement. Obviously, we can only do so much with ourselves, and we can miss the forest for the trees, but it helped me get by. And when the time came that I was… happy? ready, then. Ready to make a commitment to diagnosis and treatment, I made it happen as quickly as I could manage with my lack of resources.’
As I wrote this for my friend, I am happy to share it with you guys for the same reason — I am doing my best to take my brain dysfunction and use it to show what it’s like to live with bipolar. This friend had some understanding from other friends, and while there is a lot of same across those that have bipolar, there are so many different flavours of it, and as individuals, we all have our own story of life with our constant ‘companion’. So explains some of the past novel with mine, hee hee.