Words are powerful things. Words can inform, educate and amuse. Words can insult, hurt and berate. Words can fill your heart with desire and send you flying back to the dizzy days of playground excitement. Words can bring a tear to your eye and leave you staring at a secret stash of photographs and ticket stubs, yearning for just one more memory. And sometimes, words can cut through to your heart and destroy everything you've ever known about yourself. Words like "I'm sorry, but there are going to be some cutbacks" or "it's not you, it's me." And especially words like, "it's bipolar, I'm afraid."
At first, the words come as a relief. "Finally," you say to yourself, "there's a reason behind everything." Finally, your behaviour isn't without cause. The erratic mood swings that leave you wandering aimlessly around central London in the freezing, pouring rain at 04.00 didn't happen for nothing. The fact that your mind runs at a million miles per hour isn't just because you are an unfocused fool. Finally, you know for definite what you've known all along: that there really is something wrong with you and you're not just losing your mind.
But then the realisation sinks in. You really are losing your mind. Nothing makes sense any more. You're no longer in control of your mind, or your thoughts. And, perhaps the scariest of all, you're no longer in control of your actions.
You try to explain it to people. But there is no real way to put it into words. You try; you practice, you plan, you get everything worked out so sweetly. But then you choke and all that comes out are yet more tears. So you lock yourself away and you cry yourself to sleep and you pray that maybe, just maybe, they were right. That you will get over it all. That all you need is time before you feel better. That, at the risk of sounding terribly cliché, the sun will come out tomorrow. So you cry and you try and you promise yourself that you're not really that mad.
And suddenly, life is beautiful! You're not crying constantly. You're not crippled by the pain in your chest that forces you to struggle for breath and embarrass yourself in public. People are taking you seriously! You're able to link several individual thoughts into a coherent thought pattern. And you rejoice that everyone was right and it was just a case of having a bad state of mind.
But then the floor falls from underneath you and you're right back to square one. You're either scrambling around manically, driving the people around you to the point of distraction, or stuck in a heap on the bathroom floor, searching frantically for the inner strength to stand up and face another day. Just when you thought it was safe to admit that you're getting better, you're suddenly at the point of no return again.
But people will tell you it's no big deal. "Everyone gets a bit depressed!" Except it's not a bit depressed. It's a severe, brutal, manic depression. It's the type that leaves you staring at a blank wall and fighting against the instinct that tells you to ram your head against it. It's the type that drives away the people you care about because they simply cannot handle it any more. It's the type that leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew about yourself. You fall down and you try to piece yourself together again but after each episode, there seems to be another piece missing. Another piece of you that disappears or changes beyond recognition. Another piece of you that acts as your involuntary weapon, fighting off anyone who dares to venture towards you.
But, hey, it's just the blues, right? It will pass in no time at all! Mind over matter! Just think positively and you'll forget that your mind is so cramped, and so flooded with negativity. You'll be back to normality in no time at all. Except, with bipolar, your normality isn't a very nice prospect. It's a curse. A curse you'll be fighting against for the rest of your life.
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