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.

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3 thoughts on “Bipolar disorder

  1. I can totally relate. I am in the same situation as you. All I can do is to take one day at a time. And lots of therapy and take my meds daily. It is comforting to know others walk the same path as I do. Thank you for sharing, I know its not easy. Its not something I talk about with my close people in my life. I admire you for writing about this. We are part of a special club!

  2. My dear friend Bob,
    I read this with great sadness. Knowing you all these years (13? 14?), I had no idea you struggled this way. Please understand that your LIFE was given to you for a reason and it is precious. Your value as a human being, breathing air on this earth, does not consist of what you do for others! If that were true, then every child, every incapacitated person, every elderly person should die because they can’t do for others. You know that is ludicrous! You are deeply loved by so many people, including me!! If you ever seriously think about ending your life I’LL KILL YOU!! 🙂

    That said, there are so many ways you can continue to help people!! Of course you are still working through your grief over losing family members, and you need to take the time to do that. I would then encourage you to look around and see so many ways in which you can help others in whatever community you live!

    Life is hard but it’s beautiful. STAY IN IT until God decides it’s time to take you home. I love you Bob Mulkey!!
    Lorie

  3. Taking care of yourself is not selfish my friend.. taking care of yourself means that someday when they need it and you have the energy you will be able to again. take care of someone else from time to time. If you don’t see to your own needs, you won’t have an endless supply of seeing to others. Meanwhile, it’s very brave of you to state the BPD and you probably just helped a large portion of your readership whether or not they’ll ever be able to tell you. Most people suffer in silence and almost all people suffer to some degree with mental illness. It’s not a weakness, the people in our lives who work to make sense of the brain chemistry issues that complicate their lives are usually the strongest people we know. Big Salute to you Bob.. Judy

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