My life has changed a lot– mostly for the better– since I received proper diagnosis in October. I think of it almost as being diagnosed for the first time. I have received various diagnoses for the past sixteen years: Bipolar, Major Depressive, Intermittent Explosive, Borderline, Generalized Anxiety. As one might imagine, this plethora of diagnoses and the medications prescribed for them put me on a wild ride for many years. I had completely sworn off medications when I was younger, but when I received this diagnosis and I realized my symptoms, I knew it was time for help.
Nevertheless, the diagnosis hit me hard. Imagine living the only life you knew to be true only to find out that it was not really your life at all. All of my favorite characteristics of my personality were now suspects of Bipolar. My passionate emotions that I deemed as empathy? Really irritability of hypomania and sadness of depression. My extroverted times? Increased need for sociability from hypomania. My introverted times? Withdrawal from usual activities rooted in depression. My general apathy? Anhedonia. What did it leave for me?
Between October 2016 and now, not much has changed in that way. I am not sure what feelings actually belong to me and what feelings are caused by my disorder. The intensity of my emotions trigger a rational fear that hypomania or depression are coming back for me again. I complain to my therapist, quite frequently, that the depression I experienced then took something from me. Something I cannot explain. Despite not feeling so depressed, I find it hard to seek the positive in any situation and the things that should make me happy, often make me question their reality. I still find myself wanting to lay in bed listening to Radiohead on repeat. The depression that almost hospitalized me, made me take time away from work, and (in some ways) saved my relationship, left a dark cloud hanging over my head.
This blog is dedicated to the people who are helping me work through this. Being bipolar isn’t a bad day, month, or year. It is a constant uphill battle trying to find out who I am and separate that from the years and years that my symptoms have spent intertwining themselves with my persona. Writing has always helped me to think, so this blog is my way of sorting these things out.