(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)
Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m bipolar.
True story. I’m Type II with rapid cycling and hypomania. I’ve been medicated for a little over a year now and let me tell you, medication and health insurance have saved my life. I’ve spent the majority of my life in some depressive state. I’ve avoided making friends, dealt with a rather extensive list of insecurities (beyond the ‘normal’ amount), ruined relationships, missed countless opportunities, and just existed for so long it’s an amazing change to be balanced out now. I finally love life and appreciate the majority of my days (no one is perfect). I still struggle with depression from time to time – even all the medication in the world can’t fix everything.
Bipolar, in my own little explanation, is an instability in moods. I can’t control my ups and downs which range from feeling on top of the world to contemplating what life would be like without me in it. It’s serious business and not a fun thing to struggle with on a daily basis. I firmly believe in chemical imbalances – I think that I was wired this way and I thank the heavens for medication that can help alleviate my most interruptive (I made up that word) symptoms. I go through cycles of a couple months of normalcy, a couple weeks of hypomania (less intensive mania), and a couple weeks of depression – all interspersed at random intervals and timing. Truly it’s really annoying and I feel like it hinders my success to a degree.
So what has this meant for my various business ventures? I haven’t functioned steadily – with predictable moods – in quite some time. I love the customer service aspect of my job most days; making people happy makes me happy in turn. However, when I’m in a depressive mood it’s a huge burden to get up the strength (yes, it takes strength) to get my tone to the level that it is when I’m doing fine. I turn into Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh – it’s just ridiculous. Most of the time I’m super upbeat and positive almost to the point of annoying my friends but as soon as the depression kicks in I withdraw from everything I love and cower in my bed for a couple weeks. I can’t concentrate at work, I’m nervous about everything, I doubt myself, I don’t see a point in doing anything and human interaction becomes a huge stressor. When I’m in a hypomanic phase I’m writing and completing to-do lists, I’m emailing like a machine, I’m confident, I plan for a bright future and I’m overall a super happy person – it’s GREAT! I wish I could be in that state all the time! (Side note: full on mania is NOT a good thing, I’m not trying to make a case for it – I’m talking about my own personal version of hypomania.) When I’m functioning normally it’s a nice balance of reality with a slightly elevated mood (I truly am a positive person at my core).
So there you have it. It’s so weird to have something that you feel like you need to admit to other people. I wish mental health issues didn’t have such a stigma to them in our society. It’s like a diabetic dealing with their diabetes – I take care of myself, am knowledgeable about my condition, and I take my medication. I don’t feel that I should be judged any differently from someone with a balanced brain chemistry – we’re all the same when it comes down to who we are as humans.
And that, my friends, is my personal explanation for the day. I hope you can appreciate my openness and maybe go forward with a little more knowledge than before – the more you know and such.