My “official” experiences with bipolar disorder have spanned 27 years, since I was diagnosed at age 14. The disorder has waxed and waned and woven itself into the very fabric of my life. After struggling with it for many years, feeling like it had control over my life, I find that the only tenable position that I can take is one of fierce optimism.
I have been disabled since 2006, when my ability to cope with the vagaries of work was overshadowed by the suicidal repercussions of any job that I held. I am a hard worker, giving my all too each project or assignment, and that would invariably lead to trouble. Like the two poles of bipolar, my work was either stunningly good, or scrape-the-barrel less effective.
To be productive and involved in the world around me, I stay current with the latest scientific findings regarding bipolar disorder and its attendant manifestations. I am always involved in at least one major activity in my community.
Winter of 2011 I coordinated my children’s middle school memory book. April-September of 2011 I was the volunteer coordinator for NAMIWalks UT. The work for the walk in 2012 is ongoing.
My family and my religious beliefs are the bedrock of my stability. The first and only time I was hospitalized my husband made me sign a contract that I would not complete the act of suicide because of the ramifications on the kids.
I see how my moods and actions impact others. I am not always able to control my words or actions, but I realize that I am accountable for them, nonetheless.
Bipolar is not an excuse for bad behavior. Every day I have to decide how I will face that mood or feeling and meet it head-on. Some days are more effective than others. Life is too short to be a victim of something that could ruin and run me if I let it.
This all sounds good on paper, but it is truly my life. I am Bipolar I, Rapid Cycling, Mixed Mood. I go to a CBT trained LCSW therapist weekly who is trained in EMDR. She helps me recognize distorted thinking and is trying to help me see that it is OK to just take a step back and just be “me,” without having to accomplish so much .