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Coping with Bipolar Living

Everything happened so fast. The thoughts racing through my head at a hundred miles an hour. Depressing thoughts that would not seem to leave me alone. This was not me. I grew up in a loving family, I’m in a band, I’ve got a wonderful girlfriend. Why am I suddenly down every day and having these suicidal images in my brain? I decided to run away from all of it. I packed my duffel with a few things and hit the road. I didn’t have a destination. I didn’t even have a care in the world about my friends, or family, or what was going to happen to me. Thoughts were foggy and dark. One minute I was thinking about jumping in front of a train, the next minute I would laugh at myself for having such a thought.

After a few days on the road, I woke up one morning extremely confused and scared by my surroundings. I was cold, hungry, alone in the street. My mind felt like jelly and I decided it was time to find someone. I showed up at my cousin’s house and explained to him that I had found God. His face told me that he thought I was joking. But the more I tried to convince him, the more concerned he got, and the next thing I knew my grandma was there to pick me up. After many worried hugs and shoulder shakes, I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar living is no joke. I’m on a ton of medications that make me feel fuzzy and tired even though my thoughts have leveled out for the most part and I sort of feel like me again. I’m still in a band, but my band mates are always concerned about how I’m doing or whether or not I’m going to disappear again. My parents aren’t quite sure how to deal with bipolar living either. The medication is costing them money, and they keep searching for an end all to this mess. If I don’t take my medication, I start to say things about the world in my mind and people around me get a little scared because I become unpredictable. I’ve begun going to church every week because I want to ask God for help through this. I wish bipolar living didn’t entail a bunch of pills that take me out of myself. But then again I’m not myself when I don’t take the medicine either. It’s quite ridiculous!

I just have to take it one day at a time. My family and I have supper together every evening and talk about normal family things. Like how our day was. How work was. How is the band doing? Do we have a new drummer yet or any shows coming up? But in the back of my mind there is a constant inner dialogue telling me that everyone is judging me for being bipolar. I wonder if they’re scared of me. They think I could break at any moment. And the sad thing is that I could.

Adjusting to bipolar living is a difficult thing to do after leading a semi-normal life for eighteen years. But like Father Brannigan tells me, “Living bipolar is Gods way of teaching me to overcome weakness.” So I try to be understanding and compassionate. I work real hard every day to overcome my aweful feelings of not fitting in. My music is getting better and my drive is getting stronger. With the help of my friends and family, this bipolar living will ultimately fuel me on the path to a meaningful existence.

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