I am not going to sugar coat this. Sometimes, the world can look very dim. However, sometimes it can look wonderful too. When it does look dim is during the deep depressions that come along with this disease also called manic depression. While in a manic episode, you look through glasses and see a world where everything is a place for you to change the world, enjoy everything, and are deluded enough to think that everything can always be this happy.
The downside of bipolar disorder, even while you are happy or what is called mania, you experience very high highs and very low lows. The lows are debilitating where you can not get out of bed, taking a shower takes effort, leaving the house takes motivation you do not have. You withdraw from friends, isolate yourself, and nothing looks like it will ever get better.
During the highs, you can do a lot of damage by spending a lot of money you don’t have, saying hurtful things to loved ones, lose friendships, and take risks you normally would not take.
For me, unlike most people who suffer from this horrible disease, I would rather be depressed. That is because of the damage I cause while manic is so devastating that it causes deeper depressions. Generally, the higher you get, the lower you fall. That is why it is very important for me to not let myself get manic. I have to admit, it is nice to have all the energy and ambition that comes with the illness, but would rather not have those if it means I have delusions of grandeur that cause me to do things I normally would not do and end up with a very high credit card bill.
So, what does the world look like when you struggle with bipolar disorder? It depends on who you ask, but for me, it is a very discouraging illness, however, I have done wonderful things while manic that I am proud of. For example, I blog under the pseudonym Bipolar Bandit, founded and run a group called Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and have a Facebook page and several other media sites called Mental Health Advocates United. I touch the lives of over 300,000 people between all my social media sites.
I also have been a manager of a movie theater, Teacher of the Year, have run an event called Embrace Life Day that had free food, entertainment, speakers like The Wounded Warrior Project and vendors and exhibitors that volunteered their time. For example, we had karate instructors, horse therapy, spiritual leaders and NAMI, DBSA, Bring Change to Mind and Mental Health America, Suicide Prevention, the local hospital psychiatric wards were all represented. This event drew over 400 people the first year and was on the news!
As I said before, I am not going to sugar coat things. However, I can tell you that, overall I feel blessed to have this illness, yet wish I knew what it was like to lead a “normal life”.