Today, I would like to talk about my illness and the daily struggle of about 5.7 millions of other Americans. Our illness is called Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar Disorder is defined as a mental disorder marked by alternating periods of elation and depression. In my own personal terms, it is when you can't stay happy and can't overcome the sad.
With my diagnosis, I was labeled Bipolar I, which meant I could be super happy or super sad at any given moment. Usually there were triggers that could set them off, but those triggers were usually when I was happy and setting them off sent me into a depression. While I was in that depressive state, the world around turned black. My energy was gone, my eating became scarcer and scarcer, and my will to do anything about it was gone. However, when I was in my Manic state, I wanted to do everything! I wanted to hang out with all of my friends at the same time, I worked and worked myself until I couldn't move, and my irritation towards everything was just through the roof. In my opinion, it is worse to be in a manic state than a depressive state, and here's why.
^^^(That is a very scary statistic) When I am depressed, the person I hurt the most is me. Anyone who has any mental disorder can tell you that they would rather feel the suffering than those around us. When I am depressed, I do not affect anyone but myself. The only person I can hurt is myself. I am more of a danger to myself than to anyone else. But when I am manic, everyone I encounter is in danger. My actions are uncertain and the threat of my irritability exploding over something small is at its highest. It can also lead me to "believe" that I am better. It can convince me to stop taking my medication just because I feel cured (not depressed), which then leads to increased symptoms of the illness.
All of my symptoms are poisonous. However, there is one symptom that absolutely destroys me, one that has left me crying on the floor and unable to move on various occasions, and that is the Ruminations.
Rumination refers to the tendency to repetitively think about the causes, situational factors, and consequences of one's negative emotional experience. In my terms, it's the venomous "what if" thoughts that clutter my brain.
There are things that loved ones have told me that I don't necessarily like, however, I can't change the past. And as much as I tell myself that, it doesn't stop me from thinking. No, these thoughts come in swarms and they don't stop unless I explode or I force myself to sleep. Most of the time, I am able to sleep before they get too out of control. However, there are times when I explode. These explosions come out as screams and fists hitting furniture and arguing over something small and obsolete. My arguments make no sense and I ask questions so farfetched that there are no correct answers for them. Yet, I realize that what I'm thinking is irrational and I fight with myself over and over again. But somehow, the thoughts come out victorious and I'm left with no choice but to bend to their will.
This is my life. This is my day to day struggle. However, as grim as I made this article seem, I still have hope. My girlfriend, who has to absorb everything I throw at her, has so much patience and love that only she can withstand me. She is the color when my world goes black and the calm of my storm. I doubt I would even be here if it weren't for her. My routine of pills to take is ever changing, but that just means that the right ones are just around the corner. My new techniques and habits for stopping an episode have worked and are slowly being put into action. My will is slowly coming into my possession again. And my mind, I believe, will one day become a safe place again.