A Brave Fight

Up! Down! UP! DOWN! Are these feelings real? Are they rational? What’s happening to me? One week I’m drowning in pain, the next I’m so high I feel like gravity doesn’t exist. That’s what it’s like living with bipolar disorder.

There’s so many complicated emotions that come when being diagnosed bipolar. Relief at finally having a diagnosis, fear for the future, and ultimately more confusion than before. For the first two years after being diagnosed, I felt like a guinea pig. Medicine combinations were trial and error, some making me so manic I felt like I was flying, and others brought me so low that I was hospitalized for suicide attempts. I felt isolated, and often still do; having trouble finding words to express feelings & emotions to others that I can’t even understand myself.

Because of my unique brain chemistry and multiple diagnosis (bipolar, depression, anxiety, ptsd,, ADHD, eating disorders, etc), I’ve acquired certain skillsets:

I’ve learned to be resilient, rising again and again above obstacles determined to stop my progress forward. I’m learning to not compare myself to others; probably one of the hardest art’s I’m still working on mastering. When I see others consistently rising to the occasion, thriving, and performing, it’s important for me to remind myself to focus on my own survival instead. My time to shine will come. For now, I need to focus on stability, learning to love myself, appreciating each and every baby step taken, and feeding my heart, brain, body, and soul.

I’ve learned that I am a goddamn warrior. It’s ok to focus on surviving. It doesn’t make me weak, in fact quite the opposite. Every day I wake up battling the demons. The same demons that caused negative intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, and nightmares the night before. It’s a never-ending battle that requires bravery. A battle that most people can’t even begin to imagine.

There’s this expression “beautifully broken.” I am not broken, because every day I fight a beautiful fight. A fight to stay alive, not giving into the voices inside my head telling me I’m not worth it and that my life doesn’t matter. I am beautiful because every day I live with the agony and uncertainty of what the next day’s fight will bring. Days that I’m on top of the world are still shadowed by the constant feeling of “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” How long will this temporary happiness last before I am thrown into darkness again?

I have the same emotions as everyone else, but I feel them so much more intensely than the average person. My emotions can feel unstoppable and sometimes so can I. I turn into someone I’m not, and it’s terrifying. Are my emotions real or is what I’m feeling just an illusion? Stability is a luxury for me, and most people take it for granted.

On one side of the spectrum, I am capable of loving harder, laughing louder, and having the kindest, most open heart. My negative emotions however can be devastatingly debilitating. It can come in forms of sadness or uncontrollable rage. I hurt myself, and other people around me. The battle against my bipolar depression and lows is one I must win over and over again or the consequences will be fatal.

My bipolar brain is unique in the very best way. It feels like a blessing and a curse all at the same time. Overtime, I’ve learned that I don’t need to be ashamed, even though mental health is a taboo topic. Rather I’m trying to use my diagnosis to learn more about myself. It’s a journey that only the most loving and loyal can join me on, and sometimes this means removing toxic people from my life. I can’t describe the heartbreak when someone I love so much doesn’t understand me no matter how hard I try to explain.

I am not a toxic person. I have a disorder; I didn’t make the decision. It can feel so isolating at times. is invisible, I don’t wear a cast or have a wheelchair. I had to learn early in life to accept the fact there is no such thing as perfect, and that my brain is like a work of art. Through my journey I’ve come to discover that not everyone will appreciate the unique magic that lies within me. I’ve also learned to be fully present in the good times because holding onto those feelings, knowing I can feel that way again can be the only comfort when I am drowning. Those happy memories are the light in the darkness. A life raft.