“We believe that you are bipolar”, the doctor said. The three med students concurred.
“Pardon?” I asked
Clearly something was wrong. I was in a psyche ward for fuck’s sake. But bipolar disorder? Give me a break.
I ignored that diagnosis throughout rehab and during the months I attempted to rebuild my life. I’ve been around those that have suffered from the disorder. Out of college, I lived with such a guy. I might’ve been crazy, but I couldn’t touch his level of insanity. But such experiences formulated my opinion of what it meant to be “bipolar”. I knew who I was, and I certainly wasn’t “that guy”.
But as the months progressed, I started to feel better. When I began to run out of medication (because I’m poor and uninsured), I thought: “no worries, I haven’t been drinking. I’m happier than I’ve ever been!”. After a few weeks of that, strange decisions started getting made.
I left a promising job to become a truck driver. As I’m typing this, I don’t know why. Luckily, I became briefly re-insured where I was able to get back on medication. And then it occurred to me: “With emotional problems, drinking problems, and a marriage in jeopardy…I have no business driving a commercial vehicle.” I flushed away another promising job and a LOT of money.
(SO much money, in fact, that I will likely have to work two jobs. Does anyone want to write this blog for me?)
It’s not easy to see the disorder in yourself. But there’s plenty of evidence for it in my relations with others.
I don’t talk about my marriage a lot. I’ve put her through too much emotional hell that it’s a miracle we’re still together. But that should’ve been an obvious warning sign. She’s expressed confusion in my behavior and I’m often left scrambling to understand it myself. I know exactly what it’s like to live with a person that has the disorder. I understand her confusion and frustration.
I’ve alienated my family (who are likely tired of my emotional turmoil) and all of my friends.
I am, as some would say, an introvert. In general, I prefer my own company and only keep a small group of acquaintances. I’ll express my emotions through writing all the live long day, but I’m hesitant to do so face-to-face. I’ve always been that way. Those claiming to be bipolar, in my experience, never exhibited those qualities. Which could explain why I never took the diagnosis seriously.
“Me?”, I thought, “a relatively stoic and unassuming person?”
But when you wreck relationships, suffer from substance abuse, and make crazy, inexplicable decisions….what more evidence do I need?