Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Why did I confess?

What it feels like in the middle of a mood episode
Photo by Sonia Remizua on Unsplash

 I had a few people ask me why I posted my confession yesterday.

"Aren't you scared that someone will use that information against you?"

"You'll never find a job if people know [the truth]."

Here's the thing. In America, truthful information about mental health is difficult to find. A lot of stigmas exists around both mental health problems and people who have them. But not talking about mental health will not get rid of the stigmas.

We need to normalize mental health discussions. If a person has ADHD or autism or bipolar disorder, they need to be able to discuss their diagnosis without running into prejudice and bias from society.

Today, that is not the case for the majority of Americans.

I announced my new diagnosis to do my part in helping to normalize bipolar disease. I am not a celebrity; I am a normal person with normal wants and needs. Furthermore, I have a family I love, amazing friends, and a dog who is honestly the goodest boy ever. Having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is not mutually exclusive to having a life.

So if you have any questions, I will answer them to the best of my ability. If you know someone with bipolar disorder and want more information, I can point you to some great online resources. If you are just curious, awesome!

Only if we work together, can we overcome societal stigma about mental health. Only if we work together, can we make society a safer place for everyone.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Confession Time: I just learned that I have Bipolar Disorder

And yes, it still hasn't sunk in. I mean, I'm bipolar?!?!???

Why is this so hard to acknowledge? Because I am human, and whatever I feel, feels normal.

Only needing 4-5 hours of sleep sometimes? Normal.

So tired I can't get out of bed until noon, other times? Normal.

Speaking too fast? Thoughts racing between ideas? Unable to fall asleep or wake up at the same time? 

Normal. Normal. Normal.

To have a psychiatrist tell me, well, your normal is actually a series of bipolar mood episodes. That blows my mind.

Image by Freepik

I started an antipsychotic medication - Seroquel - which turned me into a sleep zombie for a few days. Luckily, I'm adjusting to the side effect and staying awake for more than 30 minutes at a time. But the new changes in my sleep needs is only the most obvious effect to other people.

Internally, I can focus now on one thing at a time. I don't have to corral my thoughts every few minutes, as I also feel calm inside (though to be honest, "calm" isn't the correct word, just the closet to how I feel). I have a clarity to my thoughts that I did not have before. To be honest, I did not realize I needed the clarity until I had it.

I guess the strangest thing is that I now feel more like "me" than I have before. It's wonderful and scary to feel as though I am more a whole person now than I was last week. In turn, I wonder what I will feel next week, next month, even next year? 

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