This is me
“I am here to tell people that I am an advocate and want to fight stigma. I am also a person with bipolar disorder. I come from a generation when people were afraid to speak and from a family that didn't want others to know that we have a history of genetic differences with our brain chemicals.
I am also here to tell people that I have survived and thrived despite being a person with bipolar disorder. I have successfully completed undergraduate and graduate degrees. I have had a steady career. I want to tell people that sometimes they think they know what bipolar is or what it does but that they might be surprised.
I have had people say that I can't have bipolar disorder with various qualifying statements that were ridiculous, unaware that people with bipolar disorder can be in a kind of remission state. I have also heard ridiculous comments fueled by the media, televisions shows, songs, movies. I am here to say that it was frightening to finally be diagnosed with bipolar disorder after wondering in my teens. I am also here to say that after some years, it didn't define me anymore and that as I have become more comfortable in my skin and more aware of my health needs, it's not - at least on average - a big deal. But I also want to let those who are challenged with it know that I have my bad days, weeks, months (and sometimes years) - and still make it through.
I want to say that I wish I was brave enough to sign my name but that I'm still aware of the stigma that we are breaking down. That I don't want my temperament, mood, or just a basic bad day to be attributed to people's stereotypes and judgments - but also that I'm glad for everyone who is brave, that we need more of us that are willing to stand up and speak out. I try to do so indirectly and in privacy amongst those I know struggle. But mostly, I want to say that you are not alone. We are everywhere in life even if we are a fraction of the population and we have strengths.
Complex, sensitive people like many of us that have bipolar are - and possibly creative too - make this world a softer, more beautiful place to be (we're able to see things in vivid color) - and that's the truth that I believe. We live life to the fullest just by being.”