After two years of intensive therapy following my first major breakdown, I was diagnosed at forty-five years old with bipolar 2 rapid cycles. The doctor asked me right after giving me the news, how I felt and did I know what it was. Initially, I didn’t feel anything probably because I didn’t know anything or very little about it. After his explanation, he suggested that I do some research on the internet which I did.
Slowly but surely I started to build this feeling of shame which ended being huge and omnipresent. I carried this painful and unnecessary load for so many years. Now after eight years I can proudly say that the shackles of shame have been removed.
Apparently, I have been living with this illness since the age of twelve, which would explain some of the so-called, insane decisions and risks that I took in my life. I have done some great and bad deeds along the way, from one extreme to the other, as you would expect.
My friends and family deemed many times my decisions and actions insane. Strangely enough, they were not abnormal in my books and made total sense to me. I was determined and went for it, despite all the advices and warnings.
I saw things from a different angle and for most of the time, these moves proved to be right. This is when you hear “He is visionary, genius etc.…”. Yes, some went south badly, that’s when you hear “I knew it, he’s nuts” but overall my “outside the box” thinking mode worked.
By being different you ruffle some feathers and make enemies on both sides of the spectrum, private and professional. As Churchill said, “If you have enemies, it means that you stood up for something once”. I was asked if I had to do it all over again, what would I do? My swift answer was; Yes, I would.
Called it mania or whatever you’d like, the bottom line is that we’re capable to accomplish, in any field, extraordinary and larger than life, achievements as others can’t.
If it weren’t for this quintessential bipolar we would not leave in a free world. Thank you, Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill wasn’t the only influential bipolar; many others have shaped our cultures as well.
With all this in mind, it finally dawned on me that I was also a special person. The guilt started to fade away and I stopped hiding.
Being bipolar is not a walk in the Park, quite the contrary. It is not only about mania but also depression, as everybody knows. For me manias come also with a fairly high amount of anxiety, how about you?
I had two major dangerous falls into depression and tried to end my life five times but I came back after lots of therapies and work on myself. Since then, I had some small incidents but nothing serious. My doctor is on the ball and found the right mixture of drugs which he tweaks depending on my mental state.
For me, the most taxing and exhausting is this daily constant battle in between angels and demons. To try to control the mood swings and having no clue about what triggers them. I’ve noticed only one trigger which is people talking loudly at the same time. It is a problem as it happens often around a table during a meal. But otherwise, I have no clue about what triggers them.
Now I embraced my illness instead of rejecting it. I’m trying to focus on the positive that it brings me and watch out not to fall into “The dark side”. I’ve asked my doctor to prescribe me drugs that won’t take away my personality knowing the higher risk of drifting into high levels of manias or depression. The risk is well worth it as I know I can still achieve great goals.