Bipolar disorder

I hate writing about this topic. I’ve waited several days before writing anything, debating on whether or not to discuss this issue. I kept putting off any writing for later, when I felt better, because I didn’t want to talk about this. But I really think that this topic should be deliberated even though it could negatively affect me in the future. After all, what happens on social media doesn’t stay on social media.

My bipolar disorder sometimes gets completely out of whack. I suppose my title for this posting gave away the topic, right?

Anyway, BPD can be an insidious disease. It robs you of your peace of mind, of your ability to think clearly. It destroys your self-worth and causes you to consider things you normally wouldn’t. It prevents you from functioning in your normal day to day activities.

Bipolar disorder is considered a “mental illness”. I still shudder at that term. I don’t like knowing I’m cursed with a mental illness. The term conjures up all sorts of images of people who shoot up schools or murder and dismember people with body parts in the freezer. It suggests a person who can’t keep it together. But that latter statement is completely true.

Fortunately, my BPD is easily controlled with lithium—and not a large dose. I was grateful to find out that I didn’t need a cocktail of drugs in order to function. But learning I had a mental illness was a bitter pill to swallow.

Yet, six years after the diagnosis, I still struggle. Sometimes I find myself in hellish lows, unable to extricate myself. If I miss a dosage, I sink within a few hours. But now I’m finding myself sinking even after taking my medication sometimes. And that frightens me. Will I need additional medication as I get older?

I really hate feeling like this. I hate being tainted with a mental illness. I’ve always had to be the strong one. Now I feel weak. I know, I know, I can’t help it. But it is frustrating. Especially when the demons attack. I’ve never lashed out to hurt anyone else. It’s not in me to harm another human being. The hurt has always been self-directed. But I have to admit that I harbor fantasies of hurting myself, you can guess what that means. Sometimes I can’t begin to fathom why I don’t. Sometimes it just seems like it would be so much easier. Fortunately, I always find myself reminding myself that I need to take my meds. Or I remind myself that I haven’t eaten and my blood sugar is low. But what will happen if the day comes when I’m not able to convince myself to do so anymore? What happens if I go beyond that point?

This is not a scare tactic. It is real. I’m just stating a truism in my life. Anyone who’s been involved in depression knows how horrific it is. I’ve struggled with depression since I was an adolescent. Indeed, my counselor said that BPD oftentimes starts in adolescence. Even though I knew I struggled, I had no idea where to turn and just dealt with it for thirty years while things around me spiraled out of control. Yet, somehow, I was able to wrest control back and protect myself and those I love. Does that reflect BPD? Does it reflect a benevolent God? Does it reflect my intestinal fortitude? Or all three?

Now, however, I sometimes feel that there is nothing left. I feel I’ve done everything I came to do and that I have no constitution. Everyone is dead, there’s no one to care for, no problems to address. My counselor suggested that, perhaps my efforts to help everyone else was an excuse not to claim my life. Interesting.

I wonder if my losses mentioned above are leading to an increase in my BPD? Without that “constitution”, it’s like I don’t have a reason to get up in the morning. Yes, I have this new career path to pursue and this book to promote and I have several wonderful things ready to pop. Yet, this is for ME. And I’m not accustomed to doing anything for ME. It’s always been for someone else. I’m uncomfortable.

OK, so that was an epiphany right there. Perhaps I have to change my thinking and understand that it’s truly ok to do something for me. Something like, oh, I don’t know—HAVE MY LIFE?? It will take a change in attitude and thought. By doing so, perhaps I can regain that constitution. Perhaps I can even revel in that sense of responsibility for MY benefit, for that sense of belonging—and understand that it is alright to finally, blessedly be selfish.