September 10, 2013 by kholzhauer
But not in the way one might expect. I’m not gay (though I’m a big believer in a sliding scale of sexuality.) I’m bipolar.
If you found this post searching for something related to bipolar disorder help or depression help or suicide help, please bookmark this page for later and enlist more qualified help. I’m not qualified. I’m just speaking to my own personal experience.
I don’t talk about it much, not because it’s unimportant to me, but because I can’t explain myself well when it comes to my deepest, most intimate self. I also don’t talk about it much because it frustrates the ever loving shit out of me. I’ll be going along ok and suddenly fall into a depression so deep that I feel like I’m drowning in the bottom of a well and can’t get out, but can see the world going on despite me. And then I get really frustrated because I realize that I’ve got no good reason to be that depressed. I’ve got a home, a job, a car, a comfortable life, people who love me. But I can’t shake the dark feelings, because they’re a matter of whacky brain chemistry, and I’m no chemist.
Most people wouldn’t know about the bipolar disorder if they met me on the street. Many of my friends, even long term friends don’t know. Why? because a lot of the time, I’m in a pretty solid place. And when I hit the bipolar highs, I’m wild crazy fun. I’ve got a therapist who helped me put myself on a good schedule, who gave me tools to understand my condition and to work with it. I haven’t found meds that work for me (and trust me, for a time between ages 15-22 I tried EVERYTHING) but I’ve got other extremely strong ways of coping. I know how to work ahead in anticipation of low points, so I don’t get too bogged down, even if all I want to do for a month is sleep. I know to talk to the people around me and explain how I’m feeling, and to remind them that it’s not anything they did. I know to start planning things and making a commitment, because even forced social situations (while not fun in the midst of a low) hold me accountable to someone else.
And yes, I need that accountability to others when I’m hitting dark places. I’ve been close to suicide before. I’m not at this point. As stated, I’ve got strong coping mechanisms and an amazing support system. But it took years and much professional help to get there. It didn’t happen overnight. But still, as I’ve re-learned in the last week, my brain goes to scary places when I’m dark. I can be 14 feet up a pole (I still go to pole classes and the gym in lows. Endorphins are helpers) and be tempted to let go, because it might wake me up and jolt me out of the low (I don’t.) I contemplate hitting my high school coping mechanism and cutting myself (not an attention thing, a jolt of pain to tweak the brain thing.) I don’t. Ever again.
When I go into lows, I stop drinking, even socially. I communicate everything with my boyfriend (because he sees me every day.) I try to schedule myself so I have to go places and do things. I don’t hurt myself any more, and I’m glad. But I’m still bipolar, and I still have terrifying urges. I just understand how to control them a little better.
Friends, strangers, weirdos of the internet: I’m coming out. I have bipolar disorder. I’m not proud, but I want to be more open. I want to encourage a more honest dialogue, in hopes that even one sad, lost person struggling to figure out why they can’t feel right even though they should gets a little more insight into themselves. I’m not going to change the world through a little blog post. I’m just being honest about me, and hoping others will do the same.
*this post is scrambled because I’m riding out the end of a low. It doesn’t speak to highs at all because that seems a million miles away at the moment. I’m still climbing out of a dark place. But even though I don’t feel it now, I know I’ll make it out.