I am an advocate for mental health because it has not only impacted the lives of those I love but also my life. I rarely talk about this in my blog or in conversation but in 2015 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder ll and PTSD from childhood trauma. Dealing with my own mental health all of my life has been a struggle prior to treatment. I found myself in denial most times and blaming myself for the way I felt.
Having Bipolar Disorder has been a very difficult yet eye-opening experience for me. Each day I learn more about myself and I learn how to accept myself. I am thriving through my disorders and they are only a small part of the beautiful person I am.
Mania is the hardest part for me. I feel irritable, I spend money I shouldn't, I can isolate myself, feel paranoid at night, not sleep, not eat or eat terribly, my speech becomes rapid, I have many ideas and I have even put myself in dangerous situations or have exhibited risky behavior. I can be flaky and cancel things that I would normally love doing. I can make decisions that I will regret later -- this shows in my hair cutting. I used to self-harm 4 years ago during these episodes. I don't anymore.
It used to be my depressive episodes that were the hardest. They would last longer than normal and make me feel empty inside. I would be depressed for months and months. I would be void of emotion almost. Barely crying, laughing and smiling as a way to seem normal, not feeling attached to anything or anyone. Drinking and smoking to socialize with the group or to be able to just hang out with people for long periods of time that were not in my core group of friends.
Treatment saved my life and it made it so I could better cope and identify what was going on. I have never felt comfortable talking about my symptoms or writing poetry about it that I would like to share. Today, I am manic, yesterday, I was manic. I am okay with saying this. I am okay with this part of me. I am thriving with a mental illness. I am high-achieving, I am witty, I am loving, caring, and a goofball.
This is my first poem about having bipolar disorder. As an advocate for mental health, I am comfortable with being transparent in this moment. My therapist and my support system have helped me reach this point.