As children we are taught that our brains work due to neurons firing. We’re taught about different emotions and how to handle certain feelings. What we’re not taught is that not all brains work the same. They don’t teach you about Bipolar Disorder in middle or high school. Sadly this is something many people have to learn about the hard way – either by living with the disorder or having a loved one that does.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder at a young age. I had always known that my brain didn’t work like others. That there was something not quite right with my way of thinking. There were some days the thought of living was unbearable, while other days I was hyper to the point of not being able to control my actions. Not only were these issues scaring me but they were affecting my family as well.
To say I was a difficult child would be an understatement. I blatantly refused to follow rules. I had no respect for anyone, including myself. I did what I wanted all with a lack of impulse control that caused many problems for myself and family. Looking at me you would have never guessed I was capable of some of the things I did. Looking back I still can’t believe the agony I put friends and family through.
I can’t count the number of times I have attempted suicide. I can’t fathom how many times I’ve thought about it; there are times that is the only thing on my mind. The severe depression that accompanies my bipolar disorder leaves me feeling alone, desperate for a way out and empty. Depression is common but the severity that accompanies bipolar disorder is crippling and dangerous.
Today I found out via Facebook that a well loved actor who lived with Bipolar disorder had died. Robin Williams apparently committed suicide. I’ve always loved him, he seemed so happy and so grounded. That’s the facade many people living with Bipolar Disorder take on. Looking and seeming to be happy but silently suffering with thoughts of inadequacy and anguish.
I wish there was a cure for this debilitating condition. I wish more people understood what it is capable of doing to those it affects. There is medication that helps, but it’s very rare that someone dealing with Bipolar Disorder stays medicated. We stop taking medication when it seems to have “fixed” us and when we are off of our medication we do not want to be back on it. Personally, I hate feeling like I need a drug to keep me “normal”. The looks I get (or feel like I get) from anyone that finds out I’m on medication for a mental disorder makes me feel shameful.
I am currently coping with my Bipolar Disorder the best way I know how. I have a few friends who I can talk to that don’t judge me and I turn to them when I’m at my lowest. Knowing there is someone who cares is a huge relief especially during the depression moments of Bipolar Disorder. When there seems to be no one around to listen or show any sign of caring is when things get the worst. The feelings of loneliness and despair overwhelm us leading to a decision that could be the last. Knowing how close I have come to making that decision – and how many lose the fight every day terrifies me.
If you or someone you know suffers from Bipolar Disorder seeking help may save lives. I’m not suggesting medication, although it does help many – but having a safety net – a friend, relative, spouse etc.. can be the difference between life and death. Here are a few resources for help dealing with Bipolar Disorder.
- Bipolar Support and Self–Help: Living with Bipolar Disorder
- How to Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder
- 10 Small Steps You Can Take Today to Improve Bipolar
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline