Each of us has our own story. One so unique, so detailed, and so special, we get to call it our own. Our stories are all different, each like a snowflake. Each chapter of our lives is written in as we live it. Each page, each word and sentence has its own meaning and truth. Every letter is written in ink. Once it is on the page, it’s hard to get it off, nearly impossible. There’s no going back, no white-out to fix your mistakes. Our stories start when we are born, growing with each day and every experience. These stories aren’t perfect, and the pages are not perfectly straight or aligned. Our books are dishevelled and most of the time only we can understand the true meaning behind our stories. Then after a lifetime of happiness, struggles, and fear, the pen slows down and gradually stops moving. Our pen strokes fade from a tired wrist. However our stories do not disappear with our bodies. They continue to live on in the spirit of others. They soar around the people we’ve touched and helped, remembered even when we are gone. The ink never fades, no matter how long it’s been there. And again, our stories aren’t perfect even when they are complete. They have ink smudges, some scribbles, and parts where our writing gets a little sloppy, sometimes even unintelligible. But that’s okay because they are our stories, and our legacy we leave behind.
So why am I sharing my story? Why would I let people know about the biggest secret that rests between its pages? Because I want people to know. Because if I tell someone, if I let them know who I really am, maybe they will understand me better. Maybe they will understand my secret, and realize why it is a secret. Perhaps they will even take my secret and the actual truth behind it and share it with someone else. Who will then in turn share it with another individual. And then those lies that rest in my secret, the lies and myths that people assume, will disappear. There won’t be any tall tales surrounding it, just the truth.
And my secret? What is so important for me to hide?
I am bipolar. I have been since I was 14. On the outside I’m just your average teenager; lots of friends, a social life, stressing through high school and planning for my future. However, on the inside, I have a mental disorder. You never would have guessed just by looking at me and hanging around me that I’m bipolar without me telling you. So by this point, you most likely think you know what bipolar is. A person with this mental illness must be crazy, off the wall, really depressed and perhaps even dangerous to others, right? And that’s what I want to clear up. I don’t want to be ashamed any more. I am 16 years old and can barely say bipolar aloud without hating myself even more.
Bipolar is mood swings. Everyone has them, just people with the disorder have more prominent moods. There is no cure. I am stuck like this for the rest of my life. Everyday for as long as I live I will be labelled as having a mental disorder. People who have a bipolar disorder take medication, and that alone shields it from anyone’s view. With all these pills our moods are the same as any person standing next to us. The textbook definition of Bipolar Disorder is: one or more manic or hypomanic episodes, accompanied by one or more major depressive episodes, typically happening in cycles. However, there are two different types of bipolar, each differing in their cycles.
I don’t want to say ’suffering’. People with a mental illness shouldn’t have to suffer. But I am so ashamed of having this, it hurts me. Maybe if everyone was bipolar I would feel normal again. I wouldn’t feel so different. But I know that will never happen. I’ll always be different. Abnormal. Mismatched. A freak. Bipolar stories are invariably gut-wrenching litanies of loss and regret. But I don’t want mine to be. I want mine to end with happiness. But can that ever happen? Can someone with a bipolar disorder ever live happily? All the stress, all the negativity surrounding even the idea of the disorder. Yeah I’m different, but aren’t we all?
…to be continued
Written by Grace