Now this one's a fun one for me. The newest of all of my identity traits and a big inspiration for this blog series.
I am bipolar...big time.
My diagnosis started July 4th of 2015, so a little over a month before this blog post was published.
For over almost a week, I couldn't sleep. My thoughts were racing so fast that I just couldn't let myself relax enough to pass out. My body was also running on almost half of the food intake I was used to, partly because my body was probably stressed but also mostly because I couldn't slow myself down long enough to eat. I just had to keep moving...I went from not working out at all for over 3 months to going on a 4 hour bike ride and spending over 2 hours at the gym in one day during this week. I spent two days straight creating maps on the floor of my home with objects and was sharing very sensitive and deep information with anyone I could talk to. Thankfully, I was around people that had experience with psychological disorders, especially bipolar disorder, and so I was sent to spend over a week in the coping center.
Now that's just the part where I was diagnosed. Prior to this week long experience, I spent over a year in a deep depression. I started skipping classes. I started sleeping all day and cutting myself. This cycle eventually led to my withdrawal from school because I literally thought I couldn't do it anymore. This depressive year (2014-2015), my sophomore year of college, happened right after my manic year of college, my freshman year (2013-2014). I was involved in over roughly 15 programs at my school, was taking as many credit hours as I could and working a ton, on top of being social, going out every night, getting good grades, etc. I never had to sleep and was always working, life was great. But eventually my body shut down...and led me to the coping center. That's mostly the life of a bipolar disorderly person.
See, bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a (in my case, hereditary) brain disorder than effects your mood but impacts almost every other function in your body and in your lifestyle. It can ruin marriages, financial statuses, employments, schooling, relationships, friendships, and even one's own life. Bipolar people are impulsive people...on an impulse, we could lose all of our money because we wanted to donate it to charity. Or we could lose a friend because we were in a depressive state and blew up on somebody. The sad part is, most people go their whole lives never getting diagnosed and some even go their entire lives never knowing that they have bipolar disorder. I was lucky enough to have been diagnosed at an early age, but it still cost me my schooling, a lot of close relationships with some awesome people, and put me in financial stress.
Now there's some other things that you should know about bipolar disorder. There are three types: bipolar 1, 2 and NOS (not otherwise specified). Basically, the severity of bipolar increases as the number decreases (shout out to math people, what's that called again? haha). In other words, bipolar 1 is the most severe, followed by bipolar 2, which is followed by bipolar NOS. People with bipolar NOS are typically never diagnosed. They can usually go their whole lives untreated and live relatively normally. People with bipolar 2 are usually a little easier to diagnose or can be just as easily missed on the radar. They can usually live pretty normally with the help of therapy or medication or neither one. Bipolar 1 diagnosed patients are typically hospitalized by their condition at some point in their lives. They typically CANNOT get by without medication AND therapy. Statics show that bipolar 1 people have a 25% attempted suicide or death rate...they tended to be the most impulsive and reckless of the bunch, I guess.
Anyway, bipolar 1 is the diagnosis that I've ended up with and what I'll identify myself as for the rest of my life, not to scare anyone. I am currently getting the help and support that I need. However, my life hasn't become much easier since the diagnosis. In fact, I feel as though life is harder with this whole new identity to my name. I keep trying to analyze the WHY of this situation to find some value towards my experience for the sake of the world around me and for myself. To be honest, I don't know the WHY of my condition. Maybe I'll never know. Or maybe it was simply to write this blog and let everyone know that I struggle with this one big thing that takes everything out of me everyday. But I know I'm not alone in this world. To all of you other bipolar people out there, I honor thee for being so strong with this disorder.