Bipolar Is Only One Part of Me

I have to keep telling myself that. Over and over. I even have a post-it on the bathroom mirror to remind me.

So much of the time I feel overwhelmed by the bipolar. The moods. The mood changes. Taking meds now only three times a day. Managing schedules and routines to anchor my life to manage the bipolar.

It’s easy to be defined by mental illness. It takes everything you have to fight the lies it tries to tell you, such as death is preferable. It takes all your energy to _manage_ the illness.

All of this combined makes me think I am my bipolar. It has taken over my life, even to moving to another state to live with family for more support. My thoughts are always clouded by bipolar. It’s a brain disease. I feel like Matchbox 20’s hits “Unwell” and “Bent.”

In NAMI circles, and other mental health advocacy circles, we say I Have bipolar, not I am bipolar. There are arguments about this because of how much of your life is affected by a brain disease.

But if I listen to advocates, I have to remember that I have values and character and personality traits, even though bipolar colors how I can use them and how I live in the world.

So bipolar is just one part of me. I have bipolar. I have to tell myself this over and over each day.

5 responses to “Bipolar Is Only One Part of Me

  1. it’s so hard. easy to choose to say that ‘I Have Bipolar’, but the nature of bipolar itself is that ‘I’ am a different person when i’m high or when i’m low! that’s the dance we have to dance, and all the words in the world can’t really change it. but i think you’re right – it’s the values and character traits that stick with us through the ups and downs. a wee small light that sticks with us – up and down. and no – i don’t think we ever get to be free of having to be vigilant the whole time. all the best (Elle)

  2. ❤ to you, Rev Deb.

  3. I have Bipolar too. I like to reflect on all the facets of me for 24 years before the condition fully manifested. I think of all the influences on me and all the influence I’ve had. Yes the condition has made aspects of the real me vanish at times, but I know through many years experience of the condition that they will return. The condition really is only a facet when you properly weigh it against all the other stuff. (John)

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