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Bipolar & My Brain

Picture it:

December 2012.

I am 33.

My fifth baby is a year old.

I have been meeting with a psychiatrist and a therapist

for 14 months to treat my depression.

A host of anti-depressants haven't worked.

Every day is hard.

I'm tired of fighting.

Suddenly, a new medication kicks me into overdrive.

It pulls me out of my depression and then some.

I have energy! I want to do all the projects! I want to play!

I plan a New Year's Eve party for ten teenagers from church.

We have a blast.

My psychiatrist tells me I'm experiencing a manic phase.

This is bipolar disorder.

(Type two.)

My brain says:

Bipolar means running naked in the streets.

Bipolar means hospitalization.

Bipolar means humiliation.

Bipolar means a lifetime of suffering.

Bipolar is for crazy people.

I'm not crazy... I?

Bipolar means stigma: a mark of disgrace.

No one can know about this.

It's too awful.

Looking back on my life, I wonder:

Was that high-achieving girl of the past actually fueled by mania?

Was that sad girl actually depressed, and not just unmotivated?

When has my true personality been present?

I don't know who I am.

September 2022:

Almost ten years since my bipolar diagnosis.

So many lows, and also some highs.

Still trying to capture the elusive in-between that is peaceful, comfortable.

Now my brain says:

Bipolar isn't fun, but I am coping.

I can manage my symptoms.

I can talk about my mental illness.

My experience can help people.

I don't have to be fancy to be valuable.

I am who I am, and that's enough.


Are you looking for a great tool that will help you talk about mental illness? When Mommy Feels Sad is an illustrated children's book that teaches about depression and the difficult feelings and experiences that go along with it. Start a conversation about depression with your loved one today.

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