I have Bipolar Disorder and I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve faced the stigma from people who don’t understand mental health.
I have a pretty dark history in regards of mental illness. I’ve been in my fair share of crisis stabilization units, treatment centers, and hospitals. I went through a really rough time for quite some years before I became stabilized and a contributing member of society.
Sometimes I feel bad that I have this illness, especially when my partner is left picking up the pieces when I’m in a depression. I know it’s hard for her to see me that way, and it’s hard to be laying on the floor unable to get up and knowing that there’s so much I need to do.
For the last month or so I’ve been experiencing a pretty dark depression. It took grip of me when I saw my abuelita on a trip to Spain. She is frail and declining in health. I knew it was the last time I would ever see her. It sparked sadness that quickly turned in to depression.
With the help of my partner and an incredible therapist, I have come out of the depression. I am in a bit of an upswing, but it’s not concerning…at least not yet.
However, even with my history, even with the hard times I still face, I’m not ashamed to have this illness. I’ve spent so much time being mad at myself for having it. I’ve spent so much time thinking I was a burden to others. Realistically, though, Bipolar Disorder is a biological illness more than a psychiatric illness. If I had diabetes would I be as ashamed as I have been with this illness?
An illness is an illness, and I think it is left up to those of us who are diagnosed on how to approach it. Do we get sad about having an illness, or do we use it as an advantage? My experiences can help educate people who are just starting to be diagnosed. My knowledge can help educate people who hold a negative bias towards mental health issues. My mind sees the world differently, creatively, and it helps give a different perspective to these “earth people” around me.
And you know what else motivates me? There are so many famous, talented, and wonderful individuals who have Bipolar Disorder. They’re not pariah’s of the earth. They are famous! So having Bipolar Disorder can’t be so bad, right?