I was sitting in my counselors office, we were talking about my usual frustrations. How my moods were driving me up the wall. How at least once a month I would slide into a deep, dark, depression.
She was listening quietly, and suddenly interrupted. She seemed nervous.
“Sarah, have you noticed that you tend to move from depression to periods of high productivity?”
“Have you heard of Bipolar II disorder?”
“Um. no.” *Wide eyed stare of confusion*
“It’s similar to Bipolar, but the peaks, or the hypo-mania, aren’t as severe. It’s described periods of an elated sense of self followed by depression and suicidal tendencies.”
*Cue noise of glass shattering*
She had just described me. Out loud. And she had also used the word Bipolar.
Shit. I’m crazy.
I’m freaking balls-out crazy.
Like the kind of crazy they make movies about.
The kind of crazy that scares people.
But it made so much sense. So so so much sense.
*Cue glass shattering again*
This was the reason I couldn’t “beat” my depression. I wasn’t bad at human-ing. There was a reason I felt so different than everyone around me.
*Stare ahead blankly*
My counselor obviously sensed some concern coming from my side of the room.
“Sarah, many of the most famous artists, actors, and influencers have Bipolar. It’s tied to immense creativity and energy.”
Dammit she knows me too well. Stroking the ol’ ego.
She started comforting me. Reassuring me there were lots and lots of medications available nowadays. And how manageable it can be.
I cried because of the fear. Then I cried because of the relief. Relief and fear all at the same time.
When I left counseling I called my fiance. And cried into the phone so loud he couldn’t understand a word I was saying.
“I’m crazy and weird and broken and do you still want to marry me? I’m crazy, you don’t want to marry a crazy person.”
“Babe. I’ve always known you were crazy. Now we just have a name for it.”
I spent the day researching successful people with Bipolar. Turns out, a lot of people struggle with this. It was formerly known as manic depressive disorder and it’s pretty common among creatives. Also, it’s hard to catch in young adults, because it’s normally diagnosed as depression. So I got lucky by catching it now.
And that’s when the fear switched to joy. So much joy.
I wanted to scream at everyone I knew “I KNOW WHATS WRONG WITH ME!!!”
I wanted to throw a freakin’ party.
I wanted to scream it from a mountain. “I’M CRAZY BUT IT’S OK!!”
Instead, I called my doctor to set up an appointment to discuss med options. I ordered books. I re-read my journals and sat amazed as I watched the patterns emerge.
Rapid Cycling Bipolar II Disorder. My biggest blessing and my greatest curse.
I’ll talk about my medicines another day, because that shit got weird real fast.
But now it’s just a part of my life. You can see it everywhere. Some parts of my house are calmly decorated. Others are bright and designed haphazardly. Some weeks my house is as sterile as a hospital. Others, I wonder if it’s ok to just throw all my dishes away and buy clean ones.
It’s an adventure. It’s a roller coaster. It’s frustrating. It’s challenging. It’s hilarious. It’s deeply upsetting. It’s helpful. It’s hurtful.
Just depends on the day.