From Diagnosis to Recovery: Coming to Terms With My Bipolar Diagnosis
My initial diagnosis of bipolar II was met with a harmful mixture of periodic acceptance and denial. On one hand it provided a somewhat comforting, straightforward justification and reason for the cyclical madness. Conversely, given the innate duplicities of the illness, euphoric mania acted as a narcotic-like veil of dismissal that anything was wrong.
The sugar-coated castle of denial would eventually disintegrate under the vicious waters of inevitable depression. I was a human rubberband.
In the five years following my diagnosis I experienced three serious suicide attemtps and a quality of life that was unbearably miserable, behind closed doors. Ironically, the somewhat paradoxical skill to perform kicked in, and I managed to outwardly seem somewhat stable. Symptoms, though, would flare in ways I could not hide and wreak havoc on various areas of my life. At the end of the day, all my energy–physically, emotionally, and mentally–was channeled towards simply surviving.
It was an unbelievably frustrating conflict of captivating potential to excel, followed by deep depressions that crushed all my efforts.
Ultimately bipolar doesn’t define me. It is an illness, and just like diabetes or heart disease, there are challenging life changes and medication regiments that I have to incorporate daily in order to most successfully deal with its ailments. At the very heart of the whole shebang is an undeniably complex experience amounting to a vast number of lessons worthy, frankly, of an honorary doctorate in the fields of both mortal heaven and hell. And while biplar does not define me it is an essential factor in my life that must be taken into consideration in my past, present and future existence.
To sum it up, I believe a rather fitting analogy is to imagine my bipolar is a watermark, it’s expression is neither to dominate the forefront or background of my life. It does not make excuses, but just provides insight, explanation and perspective.