What does bipolar actually look like?
I was sort of sure but kind of unsure, so I took to the Internet to see what I could find. I’ve learned a few things….
First of all, bipolar often runs in families. For obvious reasons this makes me anxious. I want to shield my daughter from anything that could ever hurt her, but of course i can’t do that.
Secondly, bipolar often begins subtlely and gets more uncontrollable as one ages. Because of this it often goes undiagnosed for quite some time.
Third, people with bipolar are not all the same and likely not exactly what you think they will be. Most tend to be depressed more often than manic. And mania isn’t always characterized by huge peaks. For many, mania just means being able to get the house cleaned or going out for a walk. Sometimes, though? Mania exhibits in risky behavior. Not sleeping. Not eating. Not thinking about consequences but rather seeking constant instant gratification and adrenaline.
Which leads of course into unconventional sexual behaviour, substance abuse, impulsiveness and … just generally nutty stuff. I can’t explain about 65% of the shit that I do on a daily basis.
“Didn’t you think about x, y or z?”
……no. no I did not.
I’m sure that for others, this alone is maddening and impossible to relate to.
And that brings us to the shittiest part that I’ve found so far. Bipolar can be treated. Through medication one can regulate moods and through therapy one can address behaviour. But there is no cure for Bipolar and one cannot simply will themselves out of it. It never goes away and it’s not a matter of just… not being bipolar.
It’s not an excuse. It’s an explanation that my brain works differently than yours does. And this is especially poignant because of a conversation I’ve often had, in which I’m asked to alter my habits and behaviours and in which I respond by suggesting that this is inherently who I am. There have been times in my life where I have been extremely disciplined. Then the ball drops and I can’t do anything at all. Resisting temptation? Not even an option. Prioritizing? I’m not familiar with the term.
Bipolar ia not something I want to allow to define me, but at the same time I’m not sure that beating myself up over the way I am is really going to do me any favours.
I’m looking to learn how to accept that this is the hand I’ve been dealt and to also move forward with my life in the best way I can.
This matters, so listen up. Bipolar impacts wayyýyyy more than just mood. We’re talking energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem.
Which explains most likely why I forget everything everywhere and why I am in effect a hoarder. Huh. Who knew?
I guess this also explains why I can love the girl in the mirror one day and despise her the next. Good to know.
And one last thing….
As much as I hate to admit it, lifestyle changes are pretty much imperative across the board for bipolar people. Routine. Therapy. Medication. Support. Honesty. Acceptance. Accountability.
These are all thngs which can be used to better the life of someone who is bipolar.
…but these things don’t happen overnight.