A while back, I wrote a post for Ask A Bipolar in which the person asked if I would give up being bipolar if I had the opportunity to. Back then I answered no. With my recent crash and faceplant, I revisited that question while in the shower. Yes, the shower is my favorite place to do my thinking because instead of brainstorms, I get idea waterfalls! (Its true! Ask MB) The music was playing and just listening to the words brought me to tears. The lyrics touched me so much that I couldn’t help but feel the emotion in it. That is one of the effects of having bipolar. You are so in touch with your emotions, and the emotions of other things, that it’s like literally feeling it in your bones. This can be good and bad. It can be bad when the feelings are negative, but it also makes you much more compassionate and empathetic to others, or at least it does for me.
Because of the way I get so deeply affected by emotional things, it feeds into my creativity. Those with bipolar tend to be very creative and artsy. It doesn’t have to be drawing or painting artsy, but through writing, music, dance, and other art forms. I always feel better when I dance or listen to music. I used to do a lot of artwork when I was in therapy because I loved expressing myself on the paper with colors and different mediums. But, here I am writing away, so the arts definitely seem to run through my veins. (not to mention the 3 instruments I play, the dance classes I took for 10 years, etc) Yup. I’m artsy. Would I be artsy if I was not bipolar? I really don’t think I would be. I think that my emotions really influence all of my writings and creative outlets and without the intense emotions, there wouldn’t be a strong enough influence. Most of this happens when I have hit my depressive stage in the cycle, so that is when I do most of my work.
Hypomania? Sometimes can be a big pain in the ass because it can get to feeling uncomfortable for me because it reminds me of past days when I couldn’t control myself and it would be a completely negative experience. Now, I am able to to use the hypomania to my advantage and use it to get a lot of things done. I will come up with many creative ideas while in my hypo state, but just need the depressive state to execute those ideas. In the hypo state, its hard to focus on one thing from start to finish. So, I do like my hypo states because I have energy, get lots of stuff done, and have great ideas.
What about the chaos you create when you start arguments with loved ones? When your illness has taken over and made you into a monster because you drank alcohol while on certain medications? Has made it hell for everyone around you, including your boyfriend and his family? And do it time after time? Well, at that point, you plant your ass in the hospital and learn about what is going on in your head. You learn so that the next 6 1/2 years or so you can try the best you can to manage your illness, learn the tools to achieve stability and try to find a support system that will help you through. If you have done the best you can by trying to fix those wrongs and mistakes and have apologized time and again, then I think its time to move on from that and stop letting the past eat you alive. The only way to survive with this illness is to learn from your mistakes and move on. Sure it may have taken a long time, but you did seek help and treatment and tried to move past all that pain and be a different person, the person that you would want to marry in a few years. The person who would have given her life for you. Holding onto a grudge for mistakes that are so far in the past and that have been attempted on several occasions to be solved, is not the ideal situation for someone with bipolar. Yet it happens every day. People who don’t understand the illness, or don’t want to, hold onto the bad and never really open up to see the good. All that can be done is apologize and try to fix it. If you have done all that, and someone still can’t forgive you, then its time to move apart. Life can’t be lived holding onto the past. Those are the situations that are not so good to have, but knowing that the right person will accept those flaws, work with you on getting help and correcting those mistakes, it makes it easier to accept the illness. There is someone out there. I’ve done some bad things (although, compared to other stories I have read and heard, my “meltdowns” were not NEARLY as rough as others) but I have said I was sorry and done it repeatedly. Its not a fun aspect of the illness, but it happens and sometimes it drives people right out of your life. But, I still wouldn’t give it up because it helps me see who really cares about me and my health and who just cares about what things I can do for them. I pick emotions and caring anyday!
What about the extreme depressions and suicidal thoughts? Those are DEFINITELY not a favorite of mine, at all. However, with all things, there is the good and the bad. You just have to weigh which side is better; the pros or the cons. While those thought patterns are scary and the extreme depression is frustrating and annoying, it is part of the cycle. I can try to use the depression to get some of the ideas I thought up while hypo completed. But, like all things, does the good outweigh the bad. I think it does.
I would NOT give up being bipolar. I think it has truly made me the person I am, has given me the heart and soul that I have and has given me the opportunities to be influential and supportive to others who have the same illness. I have been able to make a difference in other peoples lives and THAT, above all, gives me the drive to fight those bad days, and hope for the good ones to come back. I can use my illness to my advantage, make it my muse. Which is EXACTLY what I have done, and many people have been impacted and helped because of it.