So… I’ve gone a few weeks since I dropped my news about having Bipolar Disorder. It felt awesome to publicly disclose. As I didn’t want to lose that steam, I decided to start my 30/30 breathwork sessions the following day. This is where I do 30-minute therapeutic breathwork sessions for 30 days in a row. If I miss one, I must start all over again. I haven’t missed a day yet. This too has felt awesome.
But here’s the deal that’s really important about my disclosure of how I handled my Bipolar. I’m an ordinary person. There isn’t anything special about me. In fact, I’m messy and disorganized. I really don’t know what one is worse. But I am both.
And I don’t have any magical powers. I’m just a regular chick with the belief that my life didn’t end with my diagnosis. This isn’t to say that I haven’t struggled a lot with the Bipolar, or didn’t lose hope for a while. I’ve done both. So… What was it that turned things around for me? I started to laugh again. That’s when my real healing began. A thing that I realized is that I have talked about Bipolar with defining it. I made the assumption that most people know about it except many a person may not. It’s essentially a mental illness where you have mania or highs and depression or lows.
As for the severity of the mania or the depression, it depends on how it manifests in a person for no mental illness is one size fits all. Yes. A specific diagnosis has commonalties, but there are pages and pages of variations of each in the psychiatrist diagnostic manual. My flavor of Bipolar is called “mixed states.” This translates to me having mania and depression at the same time. I constantly feel like throwing myself in front of a Mack Truck except I’ve got too much shit to do.
Some of you may wonder why I feel this way when I take my medication religiously. It comes down to the fact that medication is meant to manage symptoms rather than “cure” them. I also don’t want to numb myself out on too much medication because I’ve been down that path before. It pissed me off so much because I felt more out of control than with psychosis. I also didn’t get shit done for all I wanted to was sleep.
But this is a blog that generally talks about writing. How does Bipolar relate? Regular folks have mental illness. The statistics are that one in five adults have a diagnosable mental illness in any one given year for the United States. They are from the National Institute on Mental Health. Other countries keeping track of these statistics have similar ones.
Okay… I know that I digressed the stats except that was on purpose. It’s that a whole helluva people have mental illness. Most are just trying to live their lives. And not all of us spending our time negotiating whether or not to take our medication. Don’t get me wrong. There are absolutely tons of people out there with mental illness not taking their meds for their own reasons. But we’ve seen this story a bazillion times over. How about writing about people not fitting in the stereotype most often portrayed?
Why not also make a point to have mental illness be a part of their lives rather than all of their lives? If characters are medication compliant, this is easy to do. Maybe you might take a minute to let people know about the character’s condition. Just don’t make it a service announcement where characters lecture about it.
Narrative isn’t meant to preach or virtue signal. It turns off audiences when it does. This is honestly one of the reasons that I took standup classes with plans to do more. I even did some standup and want to do more once I figure out how to do it during the Pandemic. My thoughts are the humor around Bipolar Disorder died with Carrie Fisher. Its heart died with Patty Duke. These were two amazing women who helped to humanize Bipolar. It was also in reading their books that did this for me.
I hope with these posts that I have done the same for you.
Let me know your thoughts. You can post here or email me at hollysorianoblog @ gmail (.) com