To save time and energy, when I tell people I have bipolar disorder, I actually phrase it, “I am bipolar.” I’m all about mincing words, so describing it as “I am bipolar” cuts out an entire word. Winning!
Some people have tried to convince me that saying I am bipolar is demeaning towards myself. They argue that I am not my illness. I am myself, and I have this illness. I’ve catered to this thinking thus far in my blog, but it can become tiresome after awhile.
It’s easier to say what I am. To me, there is no difference. So, I am bipolar, and I’m proud of it. My friends tell me I shouldn’t let my illness define me, but you know what? It is most definitely a part of me, and I do not know who I would be without it. Not to mention, it is my illness, so I can describe it as I well please.
There are some great things about being bipolar. There are some crappy things, too, but when properly medicated—as I am—I think the pros outweigh the cons.
I have this manic energy that underlies most of the things I undertake, making me extremely productive almost all of the time. I would lose that if I wasn’t bipolar.
I have a great capacity for empathy, and I attribute that to my experiences with my mental illness; losing your mind is no walk in the park. I would lose that if I wasn’t bipolar.
I am able to laugh at myself and the crazy things I do. My sense of humor is dark at times, but it’s how I cope with the cards I’ve been dealt. I would lose A LOT of self-deprecating material if I wasn’t bipolar—out of all of these, this would be the real tragedy.
Even though I wasn’t diagnosed or medicated until I was nineteen, this illness has always been a part of me, and it has helped me accomplish some truly amazing things. I played all the major sports in high school all four years, and I took a copious amount of dual credit courses my junior and senior years, and I graduated in the top 10% of my class.
All of this came at a cost, though. I averaged about five hours of sleep a night, and I was not a very good person in middle school and high school. I made it through, but my default mode was set to jerkface.
I am a much better and more complete version of myself now that I am medicated. I still have my moments, but my default mode is much nicer than it used to be.
Be warned, from here on out, it is possible you will read me describe myself or someone else as bipolar—the horror!—but it will be okay, I promise. I’m offended by the ruse of political correctness, and I am not ashamed of being bipolar.