Living with Bipolar is extremely exhausting and difficult. Bipolar affects every aspect of your life, starting off in the confines of your own mind and slowly seeping out and infecting every part of your being, your relationships, your job and your quality of life. Bipolar is not a visible illness but it is incredibly disabling. Bipolar is characterised by violent mood swings. A person with bipolar would experience dark, empty and crushing depressions, but there is also the opposite, being euphoric and psychotic manic episodes and the less destructive hypomanic episodes.
The highs are always enjoyable at first. You have more energy and you need less sleep. You are more creative and have an endless flow of ideas. You begin drawing and writing and everyone needs to read your story, see your artwork or hear your new found wisdom on religion and life or hear about your new interest with the conspiracy that was the JFK assassination. You exude confidence, you’re magnetic and you become a social butterfly, the life of the party. You’re seductive and flirtatious and your libido increases. You start to notice yourself spending more money but you tell yourself you need these items.
Then slowly your hypomanic episode turns into a psychotic mania (for Bipolar I sufferers). Your confidence turns into grandiose delusions where you start to believe you are some sort of a Goddess. Your interests turn into obsessions. You are barely sleeping now and your lack of sleep fuels your mania. You become paranoid and start to suspect your loved ones of plotting against you. You start to get racing thoughts and soon you cannot finish anything you’ve started. You would do anything to slow your mind down. Your drinking becomes a problem and your friends start to get worried because they had to leave a movie early after you passed out during the ads. You lose any insight you have. You display a clear lack of judgement and your behaviours become risky and dangerous. You become irritable and quick to anger. You are too difficult to be around. People don’t know what to do with you anymore. Money is no longer an issue to you as you start to make ridiculous purchases and you wind up in thousands of dollars of debt. And then you crash.
You crash into a pit of despair. All the happiness in your life is sucked away by a growing and ever looming depression. Everything you used to enjoy doesn’t make you happy anymore. You begin to shut yourself in and push away everyone you love. You begin to neglect yourself, simple tasks like showering and brushing your teeth are so strenuous. You can’t even get out of bed some days. You feel like there is absolutely nothing to look forward to. You hate yourself, you are your own worst enemy now. You feel empty and worthless but at the same time you feel immense pain.This pain is no longer mental, it is physical and it is deep within your soul. It is excruciating and it feels like you will never be happy again. Sometimes you want it all to end and you start to think about how you will stop your suffering. Sometimes you hurt yourself just to feel anything else but the inner turmoil you are suffering now.
Living with Bipolar isn’t easy, especially if you’re like me and cycle between manic/hypomanic and depressive episodes so frequently. Sometimes the moods are so different that people who have met me when I was manic/hypomanic no longer recognise the person I am when I am in a normal state or in a depressive episode. There is no magic pill, no easy fix. I’ve come to terms with having Bipolar and at the moment I am ok with being on medication. I’m on a never ending road to recovery, but that’s ok too.