"You are suffering from Bipolar Disorder," said my Psychiatrist to me. Suffering for sure I am, but most of you must be wondering what the hell is Bipolar Disorder?
This is what bipolar disorder is. It is fun and games one minute and then, crash and burn the next minute. Sound familiar to anyone? The feeling of being creative and full of energy, not wanting to sleep because your mind is just so full of ideas, and ideas which you can execute. Never mind the consequences just yet. You want to meet people and talk to them, you feel like the life of a party. Oh it's so much fun and then suddenly you fall. Not literally, but something someone says or a memory of something you'd rather not remember, and your mood crashes. You become so quiet and depressed that you can't handle being around those same people anymore.
You are holding back your tears so you sit quietly in the corner, hoping not to catch anyone's eye. And that's how the down slide begins.
So when my neurologist explained what was happening to me, everything suddenly made more sense. For the first time in God knows how many years I could make some sense out of my chaotic world. All these years I had been out of control and my life seemed a mess. A chain of unsuccessful relationships, being unsuccessful professionally to being fearful that no man would like me when he got to know the real me.
Which man would want to be with a girl who can not control her emotions and who kept hurting herself physically? YES, I had starting hurting myself physically when I could not control my anger but not to emotionally blackmail people around me. I swear. No, no one knew what I was doing until my then boyfriend saw the marks on my arms.
It was winters when I started hurting myself 5 years ago, so I would wear long sleeves and cover up my marks and no one would know. He convinced me to go to a doctor for help. If it hadn't been for him I don't know if I would be alive today.
I went home and did as much research as I possibly could to make sense of my condition I had been diagnosed with and it all made sense. But my parents didn't understand. Well how could they? In India, mental illness is a stigma. And specially my father thought I had done this to myself. He keeps saying that I am crazy and I like to keep popping pills just to stay under the influence as if I'm a drug addict.
Till this day my father doesn't understand or know what problem I have and why I need medicines. It took me a long time to get my mother and elder sister to finally accept what I had and the severity of it. There was a period when I didn't talk to my sister for over a month because I was so angry with her for not understanding and talking to me. I just wanted her to say 'it's OK.'
My mother and sister still don't understand the severity of my condition.
Yes, it is a condition. It does not define us, just like 'diabetes', having a high blood pressure, or being a heart patient doesn't. Not many people around me know that that I have Bipolar Disorder. I can count on my fingers the people who know about my condition.
Why don't I tell my friends about it?
Because when people think that being depressed is stupid and that the more you think about it, the more depressed you get, how will they understand something as complicated as this? And swear to God, it is complicated.
People think we are crazy who will do even crazier things just to attract attention.
Can anyone tell me, who enjoys living on a roller coaster ride every single day of their lives, not knowing which way their mood is going to swing and when!?
My boyfriend from then is still with me, and we have had our ups and downs because of me. But, he didn't give up on me during my worst times. And I hope everyone who suffers from a Bipolar Disorder has someone like him in their lives so that they know that someone understands and that they are not in this fight alone.
I have been on medication for the last 5 years, on and off. I would stop taking my pills when I would see an improvement. That used to be my biggest mistake because then I could not differentiate between reality from my own messed up thoughts. I still can't at times, despite being on medication. And no, there is no cure for this.
It is a life long fight, just to survive everyday, not because of the tough world out there, but because of the thoughts inside my own head.