I am bipolar.
I like to pretend I’m not. I am ashamed to admit it. There are people I have known for years who I haven’t told. People who are very close to me otherwise.
I actually function really well. I got good grades throughout school. Missing a single class in college filled me with such guilt and mental backlash that it was never worth it. I hinged a lot of my self worth on my academic performance. I have never spent all of my money or moved to another town or done anything particularly extreme. I go to work. I have a job in my field I enjoy. I have a fiance who I haven’t run off. I do okay. But I am still sick as much as I like to pretend I’m not and it has almost killed me more than once.
The signs were there in high school. I often wouldn’t eat all day. I would get home and go to bed at about 6 PM every night. I didn’t want to be awake. I wanted to sleep forever so it wouldn’t hurt anymore. Worse than the pain was the nothing. No feelings just apathy.
College was better but also worse. Moving into the dorms was a hard transition. I met a lot of new people. People began to tell me I had too much energy to handle. I talked too fast. I switched from topic to topic too randomly and without always making sense. With every high and exhilaration of meeting someone new there was an aftershock. I spent a lot of my time crying. I lashed out at my then boyfriend a lot. I experienced absurd levels of irritability based on nothing. They accompanied my periods of high energy and agitation. I felt really good but I just could not deal with other people. I was really charismatic (at least I thought so) and good at meeting people but I had little patience for the people close to me.
Eventually it was too much for me and I sought help. So began my journey through the American mental health system.