What does it mean to me, in terms of self-identity, to have a dual-diagnosis of bipolar type II disorder (classified as a “mood” disorder) and borderline personality disorder (classified as a “personality” disorder)? I looked up the (psychology) definition of the word “personality” on dictionary.com and found that they define the term in two ways:
You are here
When I first started writing for International Bipolar Foundation, it was a coming out of sorts about my mental illness. I was open about it with the people in my life, on social media and on my own blog, but it wasn’t until I started writing for IBPF that, if you Google searched my name, you would find information about my bipolar disorder. Potential employers who did would see the articles I had written and know about my mental illness. They might choose not to hire me because of it.
There are a lot of things about suicide that aren’t talked about. The thing that comes to mind for me, having survived a suicide attempt early this year, is what happens when you survive.
through the depression.
I felt, without a body, something in agony
or maybe a body without a soul, stiff
and too heavy to pull from the bed.
Yes – an obese body, my own flesh and grief,
too heavy for my body to lift. There is
no other way to tell you: I woke up
afraid I was going to live.
There is no other way to explain
how I was overwhelmed
by the most mundane things –
dishes, the shower, breakfast.
I could not be anywhere.
I ran from Saint Louis
When I got my dog, Lena, just over two years ago, I didn’t yet know I had bipolar disorder. I had been diagnosed with major depression by my college’s health services and given only an anti-depressant to take. I had been high as a kite all summer – my apartment was spotless, I’d traveled across the country, I was hosting parties and potlucks for groups I wasn’t even a member of. Then the fall and winter had come and I’d crashed.
Even before I knew I had bipolar disorder, I have always loved art. I used to spend my afternoons in high school (I was unschooled) wandering around the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where I grew up. Since moving to Saint Louis for college, I have spent many mornings, afternoons and evenings in the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Pulitzer, the Contemporary Art Museum and the Sheldon Art Galleries. Something about art makes me come alive and opens my eyes to life in a way that nothing else does (though a good walk in the woods is a close second).
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I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type II disorder on January 28, 2014 and I want to write my first blog post in this space about some of the things I wish I had known then.
Here is what I wish someone would have sat down and told me on that Tuesday morning: