Years ago I had to tell my parents, friends and loved ones that I love women. And even though I felt in side that I loved women I still tried to be with men (which will make more sense when you read further). I wanted to be "normal" I thought that life would be easier if I could just.. well fake it. I now know that life with a woman just feels right. Yet here I am at 29 filled with the same feelings of being an outsider and I am coming out again, I'm bi..... Polar that is. I live with and try to manage bi-polar II. You may have also heard of bi polar disorder refered to as manic-depression. About 2.5% of our poulation or about 6 million people live with Bi-polar II. The biggest different between bipolar I and bipolar II is that i've never had a full on manic episode. When I am having an upswing I experience what is called hypomania. When I am hypomanic I love to party and be the center of attention. I take intense interest in people and their activities. So what's bad about that right? Well, when one experiences a hypomanic episode, which I've had last as long as a month or more, one may partake in risky or erratic behaviors. Spending money they don't have, seeking out sex with people they normally wouldn't or just any risky behaviors like stealing, doing drugs or driving fast even. I have experienced all of those symptoms sometimes many of them together. On a downswing of bi-polar disorder I expereince depression that is almost unexplainable. I forget all of the positive things about myself and my place in the world and it seems like i'm in a fog. When I say a fog I mean that I cannot see a way through the path in front of me. When I reflect on a hypomainic cycle or a depressive cycle it is as if i'm looking at someone else and her life rather than remembering my own.
I plan to tell my whole story in bits and pieces but you'll get some of the logistics in this post. After 10 years of different medications I finally found a combination that works. They only work of course when I take them, sitting in a bottle on my dresser they do nothing but create clutter. People have asked me on a number of occasions why i stop taking my medicine when i know that i need it. Well i'll give the example of anitbiotics. For a lot of people when they start to feel better they stop taking the medicine. For me I get to a point where i feel great i feel healthy and confident. What were once by best days become my worst days. So I feel great.. and i think maybe just maybe i can take care of my mood on my own this time. The truth is the medicine is what makes me better. If i were a diabetic i wouldn't stop taking my insulin right? There are a few people who are really close to me who are able to recognize when i'm off of my medicine. I stop returning phone calls and text messages. I don't write back to e-mails and rarely visit people. I seem to systematically find ways to avoid the people who would pick up on me, who know that I stopped taking my meds. I find comfort in new friends and people who don't know my ins and outs enough to see through the veil of bullshit that shrouds me when i'm cycling ( through bipolar not on a bike). I tend to draw people to me especially when i'm in a hypomaic state because i'm adventurous, fun, party all night long and will sit and listen to their stories for hours upon hours. It's like being high for days or sometimes weeks. I don't sleep a lot or I have really restless sleep and i find comfort in organizing, cleaning and planning things. Like I said i'm good at faking it so to speak. The problem is i actually get to knwo new people when i'm ignoring the people who might blow my cover. So then the next time i've gone off my meds and start cycling I have to ignore them too. Having a lot of people who care about me is wonderful when i'm feeling good but when i'm not boy oh boy it feels like a thousand pairs of eyes are scrutinizing me and so... I hide.
So why come out now? I'm coming out now because i have not taken my meds since November and I have been cycling bad up and down since then. I've been home for the past 2 months and to some i've looked to be having a wonderful time. To the people that are closest to me though.. Well they haven't seen me or heard from me. I've let a lot of people down both new friends and old friends. My parents and brother. My girlfriend. Most of all myself. I became so clouded in my judgement that I missed out on a lot of moments and almost gave up some great opportunities for my future. I have people, like those mentioned above, who love me and support me and have constantly taken me back into their lives after i've gone through weeks or sometimes even months of cycling up and down. I thank them more than they will ever ever know. I feel like i'm coming out again because people don't want to fucking admit that they have mental illness. I have been in the closet for far to long. If me admitting my illness makes even one person know they have someone to reach to or inspires one person to seek thereputic help then i've done what I can. The stigma attached to mental illness is unacceptable to me. I'm an advocate for change and for equality and so here i am bearing my darkest dirty secret to the world. I live with Bipolar II. My mental illness does not define me and i know that the only way to stop stigma is to come out of the closet. I want my exploration of life through the eyes of a "mentall ill" person to help those of you that read my blog. So please ask questions. personal about my journey or in general about depression, hypomania or the times in the middle when i'm medicated and "normal". If you want to ask a question or contact me privately that's ok too. firstname.lastname@example.org