Bipolar Disorder = Reality

If I were to buy into the idea that bipolar disorder is easy to treat and that one day I will magically get better or be “cured,” I will just be upset anytime I get sick. I have had to accept that my bipolar disorder is real, and that my episodes are reality.

My mood swings are like a roller coaster that seems like it never ends, sometimes. I have even had mood swings while I am sleeping. This really happens. I can tell because my eyes are closed, I am dreaming, but the same symptoms that happen during the day, still occur during the my sleep. I have experienced full blown panic attacks during my sleep and I have been so depressed that I have been found in fetal position, promising the people around me that I would NOT hurt myself. This is a reality for me.

Truth is that regardless of what I call it, whether I accept it or not, or how anybody else perceives it; I have a mental illness. My mood swings are out there for all to see and witness. The reality is I have experienced depression, mania, anxiety, and even psychosis all in the same 24 hours. I can hide from it, or I can utility what I know what to do for help with it. Either way, the reality is still the reality. Facts are still facts. It doesn’t change. My brain is not my friend.

I know that I am not alone when I say that I have not found a magic pill that takes away the rollercoaster of mood swings. I know that I am not alone when I struggle with normal daily activities such as school, work, and household chores. I know that I am not alone when I admit that my bipolar disorder has has severely affected my relationships. There is no magic eraser here. I cannot just put lipstick and perfume on and promise that today is going to be a good day. Bipolar is bipolar, end of story. It is truly a brain-based illness. However, despite all of that, I also know that I am still this incredibly positive person and I am extremely hopeful everyday that I will find a way to love life for that day regardless of the pain that is caused by this illness.

This is how I survive and get through my bipolar disorder. Again, if I were to buy into the idea that bipolar disorder is easy to treat and that one day I will magically get better or be “cured,” I will just be upset anytime I get sick. There is no magic pill, there is no magic eraser. I am a realist, and this acceptance and understanding of the reality of my bipolar disorder helps me forward in my own life regardless of the mood swings.

When I say the word acceptance, I mean it is literally looking in the mirror and saying “Well, dammit, I have this mental health disorder that affects my ability to manage my own moods.” This really does clear the whole mindset of it all and allows me to get the help that I need.

The opposite of my acceptance was my denial. I refused to accept my bipolar disorder as part of me, and I thought I was magically “cured.” I refused to accept that I had limitations. I listened to the people who voiced that mental illnesses aren’t real and the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. I acted as if it was downright shameful to take up valuable time and the space in my own brain that I needed for management.

But reality check: I need strategies in place for staying alive when the life-threatening thoughts show up. I need to space to put something in my brain that is going to help me; from medications to meditation to therapy to supportive friends and people around me. This also means exercise and having fun. Managing my bipolar disorder has to a priority to me, or I will not be able to reach any of my personal, relationship, or professional goals.

One of the things I learned about bipolar disorder is that it can become progressive as I age. I can tell you from my own experience that it has become harder and harder to manage as I age. When I was younger with fewer children and not as many worries in life, the illness was the same, but it affected me significantly less than it does now when I am older with four kids, more stresses, and a lot more on my plate.

I try really hard to keep an optimistic yet realistic positive attitude when it comes to my disorder.

I know what I am up against here, and I have accepted it. I cannot always be ready for the mood swings, but I have all the coping mechanisms and tools in place now.

I continue to remain intrigued with my disorder. I have to so that I can continue to learn about my disorder, my symptoms, my coping mechanisms, what helps, medications, and all that comes with it as it changes over time. I have to remain observant. I have to remain kind to myself. This is an illness. This is not emotional instability. This is not a personal choice. This is not something that was created by my childhood trauma. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness, and it is strong. I have to be ready for the challenges it throws my way, even when I am asleep.

I have to be up to task of when my bipolar disorder gets really bad and I feel too sick to even function, to know that I am going to be ok. That this is just an illness. But this illness, it is a reality.


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Daily Dose of Bipolar

bipolar & anxiety meet recovery & patience | everything is possible with love & prayer