Bipolar : A compound fracture of the human mind.Mental illness. If you read the word it brings up images of asylums and insanity. For me it brings up a lot more. The reason? I suffer from mental illness. I am not ashamed to admit it, I am not shy to say it. Its part of who I am. It will be with me, every single day for the rest of my life. I have bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder. Its not a swearword. Its not a joke. Its not something that they can slap on someone that did something bad and now it needs to be named.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness. The cause is not known, although there is much research and speculation. There is also, as far as we know, no cure. It is with you for life.
So what is this fracture of my mind?
It causes me to have severe, debilitating depression. This depression is not the blues, its not feeling down. Its an all consuming fire that consumes every part of my being. Some days I feel as if I cannot even see out of my eyes so bad I feel. Then often, remarks are made. Remarks such as, its not that bad. Just get over it. Would you tell that to someone with stage four cancer? I dont think you would. My longest non stop depression episode lasted 11 years.
It causes me to have intense mania. This mania can be from light to euphoric. People that dont know mania thinks we are on drugs, when we are not. We have energy for days. Our thoughts are racing. We think clear and we are on top of the world. My longest non stop manic episode lasted 7 months.
It causes rapid cycling. Rapid cycling is when you cycle from mania to depression in months, weeks, days or even hours. Its extremely tiring and very confusing for the people around you.
It causes mixed states. Mixed states is when you have both mania and depression at the same time. How is this possible? The answer to that I dont know. All I can tell you is I can feel bad a good at the same time.
It causes psychosis. Psychosis is when you see and hear things that are not there. It can be sounds, voices, colours etc. Its very confusing and a very sad and horrible place for someone with bipolar to be in. I fortunately get psychosis very rarely, but I do get it. Others are not so lucky.
Medication sometimes works, or helps, other times it does nothing. We are so easily told to just take our meds. The person giving the instruction forgets that it upsets our tummies, it makes us sleepy and zombie like, it takes away our desire to love and to make love. I take four different kinds of medications every day of my life. They are not aspirin. They are heavily scheduled and regulated medication. If someone that does not have bipolar that has not taken what I take before had to take it they will not be able to function for an entire week. Yet, I have to try my best to function the next day.
People with bipolar are so very misunderstood. I co-own a bipolar support group with 27 000 members. The largest of its kind in the world. I see more pain an suffering in there than any person should deal with in a lifetime. Yet, these people are all my best friends. They understand me. They get me. They are some of the most compassionate and kind people I have ever met. They have talents that other people can only dream of. Yet they see it go to waste because of this thing we have.
Bipolar is like a compound fracture in an athlete’s foot. Left untreated and uncared for it will eventually cause the athlete to never run again.
We are like that. If we are cared for, helped and understood we can achieve so many things in life. We can still reach the childhood dreams that we lost somehow.
If you know someone with bipolar or mental illness dont leave them alone in the dark with this fracture. Give them hope. Give them love.
You may just be surprised at what you may see unfold in front of you.
© Herman Le Roux 2016