In recognition of Our Lived Experience’s first birthday, we posed this question to some of our contributors. Here is what they had to say:
CHARLOTTE – http://www.charlottewessels.wordpress.com
Recently I had to deliver a talk about how you can live a full life in spite of bipolar disorder. In fact, how it can contribute to living a full life.
It all depends on your perspective. For most bipolars, the disorder has cost us something, like a career, a marriage, sanity even. But today I want to tell you the truth, bipolar can buy you something as well. If it wasn’t for my bipolar I’d be a very rich successful engineer, but I’d be a brat, self-centered and full of pride. Bipolar has made me the opposite, and to me, character is worth more than possessions.
So in my case my bipolar is a curse most days, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a blessing as well. It has pushed me into my passion which is to encourage people through writing and it has brought me closer to God than what I would have ever been. My family is closer to each other and our relationship has developed into something really beautiful. What more could a girl want?
It’s easy to think of where we would have been in our lives by now if it wasn’t for the bipolar, but reflect on who you would have been? Would you have been as strong as you are now? As compassionate? As wise? I know I’d be another type of crazy by now, so to me the bipolar is a burden I’m willing to carry.
LOLA BIPOLAR – http://www.lolabipolar.wordpress.com
What does bipolar mean to me? In one of my posts, I wrote –
Asking someone with bipolar what it feels like to be bipolar is like asking someone what it feels like to be human. Being bipolar feels like me. Its all I’ve ever known, its who I am
And to be honest, despite the REALLY tough times I’ve been through (and still go through), I like who I am. And I wouldn’t be this version of me if I didn’t have bipolar disorder.
Intellectually, I know that bipolar is a mood disorder. That my experiences of the highs and lows of life can be extreme, often influencing the way that I behave. Usually, that behaviour is “bad” behaviour. The danger zone, for me, is in depression and full blown mania. I can become quite detached from reality, interpreting every day occurrences as signs from the Universe, and receiving messages through the radio. It’s really quite a magical place to be. Until the inevitable crash happens (due to lack of sleep, and physical exertion). The depression lasts a lot longer than the mania does, and although the “bad” behaviour in mania can really wreck a person’s life, the crippling effects of depression are just as destructive, if not more so.
To borrow (and slightly adapt) a quote from Dr Stephen Shore,
If you have met one person with bipolar, you have met one person with bipolar.
It is what it is, but each of us experiences it in our own unique way.
PIECES OF BIPOLAR – http://www.piecesofbipolar.com
To me, bipolar means leading a challenged life. Daily obstacles in the form of mood swings, triggers, judgments, stigma and side effects from medication require emotional stamina and endurance. I simplify my life, cutting out chaos and clutter. Maintaining a routine and living only one day at a time makes my life stable and manageable.
Just as an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol, so too am I powerless over bipolar. So I take my medication, despite the often debilitating side effects. Even though I am medicated and relatively stable, I will never be cured because bipolar has no cure.
Bipolar means always having to say you’re sorry. I am often disappointing or falling out of favour with those around me because I do not have the same social filters and boundaries that ordinary folk do. My perception of reality is altered. I take things too literally. I trust too readily and get hurt too easily. This has led me to choose an isolated lifestyle which, while lonely at times, is again, more managable.
Bipolar means living a life of extremes. For me there is no middle ground. It’s all or nothing, full colour or black and white. The depth of my emotions allows for great empathy towards others. And has also allotted me a modicum of creativity which provides a great outlet…. especially when you are a self-imposed recluse.
ILZE – www.illyspeaks.wordpress.com
I used to be Bipolar Disorder with some Ilze on the side. Now I am Ilze, spiced up with some bipolar. It gives me flavour and brings out my true personality. Yes, sometimes it is difficult but through it all I know that ‘this too shall pass!!’ I can identify the specific spice and how it will affect me.
Bipolar Disorder is a moment to moment reminder of my dependency on God. In truth – I am nothing without the one who created me. I am unique and I am loved. When I drink my meds or process my reaction to a trigger; I do it with my creator in mind. It is hard work but so rewarding. I am forced to know myself better and deeper. I am forced to love all of me. What a privilege!
We welcome our readers’ comments and views. What does BIPOLAR mean to you? Feel free to make your mark in our comments section, we’d love to hear your views.