31 days of bipolar|day 8

What do you dislike most about the disorder?

The things I dislike most are the unpredictability, chaos, and stigma surrounding it. Probably in that order.

I’m learning to live with it, but it’s harder some days than others. I’m still unpredictable. Since I got assaulted and raped repeatedly, my illness has gone into overdrive. I hate having little/no control of my mood cycle and a hard time regulating my emotions. I hate the feeling of feeling too much. Drugs use to numb this enough to cope, but I’ve been clean for nearly 2 and a half years. Cocaine was my anesthetic, and it worked until it didn’t. I also don’t like having to stick to a strict schedule to control it. I’m not too good at that yet. Mania is easily triggered by not sleeping. All it takes is one night of diverting from a sleep schedule to be flying for a month. Medication is also tricky. There are side effects and adverse reactions. I call it “med roulette”, because it is. Sometimes, the roulette wheel stops at a cushion that works, but most of the time? It stops at nausea. Insomnia. Dry mouth. Anxiety. Dulled creativity. Less energy. Anger. Mania.

The stigma is hardest to deal with. There’s so many misconceptions surrounding mental illness, and especially bipolar disorder. Having to dispel those myths can be draining. My favorite is when people blame bipolar disorder on a slew of society’s ills, especially when it comes to mass murder. Am I inherently more susceptible to being violent than the rest of society? Studies show that I’m more likely to pull the trigger… on myself. Media and film seem to think the opposite. Characters with bipolar disorder are usually depicted as either violent or tragic, but not much in between. Jekyll and Hyde is a popular literary example of bipolar disorder. When Dr Jekyll becomes Mr Hyde, he goes on a murder spree. There’s The Hours, which depicts Virginia Woolf’s suicide. In Urban Legend, the character with bipolar disorder is a murderer. Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio goes on a drug-fueled spree to the top. I suppose it makes for a good story when someone in the throes of mania goes on a rampage. In reality, most people with bipolar disorder are usually depressed.

I also have trouble with people using my mental illness as an adjective to describe everything from the weather to someone they don’t like.

At the end of the day, I have hope of conquering this…in spite of everything my society expects.

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