5 Things I’ve Learned about Myself After 5 Years with Bipolar Disorder

5 Things I’ve Learned about Myself After 5 Years with Bipolar Disorder

This month marks five years living with Bipolar Disorder. On one hand, I can’t believe it’s been that long. I can still remember sitting in that physiatrist’s office, smelling that cinnamon candle, and hearing the diagnosis for the first time. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve had Bipolar disorder for a lot longer than that. I’ve been taking time to reflect on these past five years. Life is a lot more complicated than it once was. I’m a different person now. Life has forever been altered. All of that is true. But what else have I learned about myself?

Five things:

  • 1) I’m less resilient

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How do we talk about mental illness?

How do we talk about mental illness?

When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I was shocked. It was good to have an answer to why I was feeling the way I was, but I didn’t know how to process the news. I remember sitting in the psychiatrist’s office, stunned into silence, as she began to explain the first steps in my treatment. A part of me was relieved—an answer, finally!—but the rest of me was completely numb to what she was saying.  Continue reading “How do we talk about mental illness?”

When “Healthy” Is Not Healthy

When “Healthy” Is Not Healthy

When I was growing up, there was a lot of pressure on girls to be skinny. The women on the covers of the magazines were very thin, sometimes emaciated.

So, not surprisingly, I knew a lot of girls who struggled with eating disorders. Anorexia was common in my junior high and high school.

When I was 15, I too had anorexic tendencies. I obsessed about calories, analyzed what was on my plate, skipped meals, and perused pro-ana sites (websites that actively encourage anorexia).  When I looked in the mirror, I saw a body that was completely different from reality.

Thankfully, my parents were wise enough to put me into counseling to get me some help. It was their care that brought me healing.

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The Heartbreak Prayer: Miscarriage

The Heartbreak Prayer: Miscarriage

She told us there was no heartbeat. She said it matter-of-factly, in a quiet apologetic voice. I felt my stomach instantly drop, emotion immediately clogging my throat. I wanted to tell her to check again—oh, please, please check again. I could see it right there on the screen, right there in front of me. How could the baby be dead?

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How do you feel?

How do you feel?

How do you feel?

When I’m feeling low, it’s really hard to answer the “How are you?” question. Most people, when they ask that question, are not looking for an actual answer. When the clerk at the grocery store asks me how I’m doing, she doesn’t exactly have the time to hear me list every single one of my problems. She’s paid to swipe my bag of Bolthouse carrots across the scanner—the “How are you?” is just polite. (Duh.) “How are you?” is simply the cultural acknowledgment of another’s existence. But when I’m depressed, being asked that question stings a little.

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