Bipolar For Life

Even a few days later, I’m still stung and hurting.

A (former) friend whom I have known for years started a Facebook instant message conversation, and asked me what I’m up to.  I said, I’m up to my ears writing a novel, authoring two blogs of my own, participating in a group blog (A Canvas Of The Minds), and guest blogging for others on mental-health related topics, specifically bipolar disorder.

She comes back, bipolar disorder?  Are you bipolar?


Are you on meds?


Were you on meds when you lived here (with her family for three months, six years ago, while apartment hunting)?


Huh.  Well, good luck then.


I should have just walked away from it, counted the loss of another person I had thought was my friend, but I felt like I would be betraying myself, as a campaigner for mental health parity and…

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Hello. Yes, actually, that’s me.

When people say “Bipolar”, unless they ARE, or know someone who IS, they use it as a demeaning description of someones actions and behavior. And quite frankly, I hate it. I was probably guilty of it before I was diagnosed…

But, Hello. I am your co-worker you get along with and watch continuously perform excellent work.

And, Hello. I am the young woman with the tablet and books spread out in front of me at the gym seemingly minding my own business while working on a paper.

Hello. I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER. I am NOT “crazy”. Having this illness does not make me less of a good person than you. And using the word “bipolar” in a derogatory way against someone else is offensive.

Why does BIPOLAR = BAD to you?

Why does BIPOLAR = CRAZY to you?

Why does BIPOLAR = UNFIT to you?

These people who use the word like that, they probably wouldn’t even be able to give me a good definition of the illness. I think that’s what I’ll do next time this happens to me. I’ll ask them, like I’ve never heard of it before, “What is Bipolar?” And then, I’ll let them have it. But I won’t portray this image they have of a bipolar person, screaming, nuts.

Most sensible people have stopped using the term “retarded” to describe people – it’s time to start doing the same with “bipolar”. It’s a real situation. Real people have it.

Accepting Bipolar Disorder

Expectations have caused me a lot of trouble. For some reason, I have lived my whole life telling myself I was doing everything wrong until weeks (or maybe a couple months) ago when I realized my thoughts. It goes something like this:

(this is all me thinking to myself)

*me doing something*

“I should really be getting different results. It should happen THIS PARTICULAR WAY. Everyone should feel THIS PARTICULAR WAY. If it doesn’t happen that way, I’m doing it the wrong way.”

“Why does it have to be that way? Why do you have to get those particular results? Aren’t you good enough just the way you are? Isn’t the way you do things OK? Why do you feel the need to conform to some mysterious perfect way?”

“I don’t know…”

“You can appreciate other people’s individuality. You look past their mistakes. You can acknowledge that your husband does things differently than you, and he’s happy, he gets desirable results, and you love him because of all of those things he does that makes him himself – and not someone else. Maybe you would happier doing all of the little things you have always wanted to do but felt like you ‘couldn’t’ or ‘shouldn’t’. Maybe you’d love yourself a little more if you were more YOU.”

Aw hell naw. I think I might have been living as someone else this whole time.

This is parenting gone wrong. I think I was conditioned by my parents (mostly my Dad). I can remember him telling me to sit a certain way (when the way I was sitting was quite comfortable), cross my legs a certain way (no, sorry folks, I’ve never been a lady). I was told how to do everything. And when I wasn’t being told, I was watching my Mom conform herself into something she thought she should be that she wasn’t. It was always obvious. Always uncomfortable.

I’ve been thinking wrong for a long time. The way I do things is fine. My expectations should be exactly what I do, and nothing more. And I should do whatever feels good. Whatever I want to do. Because, I am a good, natural mother. I am a good wife. I am natural at those things. When I was trying to be something else, I was not as good at them as I could have been. When I stop trying to be proper, I am actually quite funny. And quite funny looking with this new hair cut…