walking the bipolar line…

Bipolar disorder, sigh…

I think a huge source of frustration for me dealing with bipolar disorder is trying to figure out “who I am” outside of the grip of manic episodes.  I know I am Alise, I like chicken, and I know Idris Elba is my bae.  The thing is,  I am not sure what my true personality and values are sometimes.  Not quite sure where the bipolar starts and where Alise begins.  Furthermore, I am not even sure if the two will never be intertwined.  I don’t like it.

walking on tightrope silhouette

everyday, B.

Time for some back story.

For starters, I was not actually  diagnosed with bipolar disorder until a drama filled 2012 that pretty much crashed and burned.  However, I was never a stranger to drama.  In fact, the it was a familiar thing I could cling to.

In my early 20’s I had no sort of impulse control.  Not one drop.  Having an unstable life of living beyond my means, having lots of partners, quitting great jobs on a whim, drinking ALLLL the liquor, disappearing from friends and family (Houdini of the hood), and any other madness you could probably imagine was my reality.  Might even tell you about it one day.  *wink*   I always attributed it to being a free-spirit, wild-child, life of the party monster who was acting out after having a very strict and difficult childhood with an intense parent.

I was going through a “phase.”

Newsflash: phases don’t last a decade.  Eventually, after a while, I just figuredthat I was just irresponsible, besides I ALWAYS dug myself out when things got too bad by busting my ass and telling lots of lies.  My bounce back fooled me into thinking I could do whatever I wanted.  I mistook what was pretty much luck as resilience.  The thing about mental illness that seems to mystify most folks (self included) is how the brain tricks itself into thinking foolishness and risk as “good damn sense.”  Often things that are obviously wrong or nonsensical become great ideas or “not so bad.”

All of that run-on thought to say, once I was diagnosed and medicated for the first time, I had a major identity crisis.  It became harder to  identify what parts of me were personality and what was sickness.  Where was the line between reckless and adventurous, generosity and overboard sprees, racing ideas and brainstorms, self esteem and grandiosity???

Everyday is a constant grappling with trying to identify where I am on the spectrum of behavior.

I must closely monitor and dissect every moment of action or even fun.  Sometimes I feel that I am a black girl Socrates with this examined life thing.  Most definitely it is exhausting, especially for someone who has lived their entire adult life off of impulse.  Any other folks have this experience in the context of mental illness?

Love Alise

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  • msevahoney

    Well done! I have done a lot of the same things. It is a constant journey.

    • naturallyalise

      Definitely a journey… this is why we must stick together for support 🙂

  • cinawendela

    WOW!!! Although I do have impulse control chained by my “reasons” (kids), fear of judgement, judgemental and unwavering husband…I’ve become so accustomed to being who others want me to be and who I need to be that I’m not quite sure who I am. At 42 (almost 43), with almost grown children(14,22,18) who still need “mami’ “mama” mommy” this is a scary place to be…especially while in the desperate need for a different life for me and my reasons. You are truly refreshing…so glad I stumbled on this

  • RoxyWTF

    I’m struggling with this now.

    There are some things I am jumping back into since I no longer fear my interests & traits are triggered by my illness.

    It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in this struggle.

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