Nearly 3% of the US population has bipolar disorder.

This is his story.

Every now and again, I'm forced to eat my words.

I'm bipolar, which I should think is evident to anybody who's spoken to me, read my blog (not well-maintained blog), interacted with me on Twitter, or heard stories about some of my more *ahem* infamous escapades. 

I don't have a particularly severe case, as bipolar disorder goes - I don't swing very hard between mania and depression. So it's not terribly difficult for me to maintain my moods most of the time. 

Last month, I had a really hard time.

Granted, I think I deserved to by then. I've had a rough period financially, been The Guy On Becky's Couch for some time now. I'm working a job that requires a massive investment of both time and energy, and I've always been one of those people that wants everything right now. When things take longer than six seconds, I tend to get angsty.

Last month, I got depressed. Like, seriously depressed. I don't get suicidal, but it was one of those deep depressions where the whole world is suddenly rendered in shades of grey and you feel like you'll never be happy again, no matter what you do. It takes the point out of waking up every day.

After thinking about it and talking it over with the people I trust, I went back on medication to treat my bipolar disorder.

I've been medicated for a month now, and I can't believe it took me this long to get back to it. I hadn't been on medication for over six years. Being medicated was something that I'd been wary about. I don't know what it is about bipolar disorder, but somehow we always have that struggle against medication with our brains. 

It's really difficult to explain to people who aren't bipolar, but I'll try.

Every time I wind up on medication, I feel better. Much better. Things are more stable, I'm calmer, I'm at peace, and the constant battle to regulate myself goes away. By all rights, being medicated is a better way to live, and I don't know why I fight it.

That's not good enough - not for long.

Some time later - months, perhaps years - but eventually I always hit that point. That point where I feel better enough that I want to go off my medication.

Obviously, I'm just fine. If I weren't fine, then why would I feel this fine all the time? It doesn't seem to occur to me that I'm doing well BECAUSE I'm medicated. So I stop taking my medication, and then I slide back into the same old routine.

Those are the good times with medication.

The bad times are when I'm medicated, but somehow being "fine" isn't good enough anymore. I don't feel like myself. I miss the energy of being manic. I don't feel like I'm feeling things deeply enough. I can't stop to remember that for every great manic energy day I have, I have a really bad, ugly depressed day. It's not worth it, but it doesn't register - not in my brain, at least. I try to remind myself of those things, but somehow it's not something that my brain is capable of putting together properly.

No more.

I'm taking a stand because it's time for me to really own my diagnosis and start dealing with it, rather than just accepting it.

I'm bipolar.

Being bipolar means that I'm never going to have the right moods on my own. I'm medicated, and I've made promises to people I trust never to go off my medication without first discussing it with them. I recognize that I'm not rational enough when I'm making those decisions to trust my own brain.

I don't deserve to have those ugly days anymore. I don't deserve to struggle to feel the same way that other people feel.

My name is Benjamin, I am the medicated face of bipolar disorder, and I'm better for it.

19 Comments