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.
Time for some back story.
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?