“You have Bipolar I.”
Two weeks ago, I had had enough. I was non-chalant, but exhuberant. Elated and pumped full of adrenaline. But so much so that I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t listen to one thing at a time. My thoughts were rapidly running, so fast I couldn’t even determine what each thought was. And I could do it all. I wanted to run a marathon? Sure. I could do it. I wanted to stay up for three days? No problem. My body could handle it.
In reality, I couldn’t. My body couldn’t. Having reacted poorly to an antidepressant, I found myself in an extremely strange place. I was having experiences unlike anything else. But, I knew I couldn’t go on like I was.
They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, I knew from the start there was a problem. After determining a diagnosis and stopping the evil antidepressant that had caused me to act so strangely, I have been able to really take a step back.
For some, Bipolar I is a death sentence, and understandably so. In a reality where such stigma is placed on mental illness, it’s difficult for others to understand. With cancers, joint replacements, organ transplants, and broken bones, a piece of your body is on the mend. Interestingly, dealing with mental illness is exactly the same; but it’s seemingly more difficult for others to comprehend when that piece that is suffering is your personality and your mental ability.
I’m taking a huge risk sharing this with you. But it’s a risk I’m willing to take. If we are so scared to talk about mental illness, how can we ever change and more importantly help those that need support? It’s true, that I have lost quite a few friends who just can’t fathom the idea of befriending a Bipolar I individual. Funny thing is, they knew me before I was even being treated.
My Hope Professors have been nothing but encouraging. I missed a week and a half of school (which I do not recommend), and I became pretty far behind. I missed four exams :\. I, like I am sharing with you, told them upfront what I had been dealing with. My make-up work became my own schedule, and each professor worked around me effortlessly. They were there to solicit studying advice and even spent extra time with me in learning the material. I highly doubt it would have been this easy at a large public university where the professor doesn’t even know my name. I hadn’t seen one of my professors for a couple of days, so she even CALLED me to make sure I was doing ok and asked if I needed anything. The community we live in here at Hope College is unlike anything I have ever experienced, but I am blessed to call it my home right now.
But where do we go from here, friends? We continue on with life. We hope for a better future; a more magnificent outcome. And most importantly, we continue being ourselves! Who can we love if we cannot love ourselves?
Just a few things for you to stew over here:
Celebrities with Bipolar:
Beethoven, Charles Dickens, Mel Gibson, Macy Gray, Ernest Hemingway, John Keats, Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, Moses (how do they know he was bipolar, beats me), Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Edgar Allen Poe, well you get the point.
- Over 5.7 million adults currently suffer with Bipolar Disorder (about 3% of US population)
- Average age of onset is 25 years old (Guess I made it a little early.)
- People who receive correct diagnosis after 3 years: 25% **Definitely need to work on this.
- Only 49% of those diagnosed are receiving treatment
Have an excellent weekend everyone ! And be sure to follow me on the Twitter!