31 Days of Bipolar, Day 1: A diagnosis is just a label, right?

Stumbling across an activity on Blahpolar‘s blog, called 31 Days of Bipolar, I’ve decided to write a post as a response to each day’s question.

For anyone else wanting to write about their experiences with Bipolar but not sure how to begin, check it out the full list of questions and rules here.


What flavour of Bipolar are you? What does your diagnosis mean to you?

My diagnosis is easy: I am the joyful recipient of a Type I diagnosis, presenting with Mixed Episodes, which you can read about here.

Bipolar is just a label

Writing about what it means to me is a little more complicated. So let’s talk about how I’m told to feel about it. People say that a diagnosis shouldn’t mean much. It’s just a label, right? I can still live a perfectly full life, right? Well, I am a positive thinker. Let’s have a look at all the great things in my life.

I‘ve been looking forward to university for years! Wait, no, my diagnosis meant that I had to adjust myself to strong medication, combined with the massive stress of tertiary study, and now I’m quickly spiralling into a several month long episode that has me barely passing subjects and dropping out…

I’ll focus on my social life. Because when you’re trying not to kill yourself, making friends is a breeze. People so want to hang out with the psychotic girl.

At least I have love. My mistake! Forgot that I lost the relationship I was in for several years due to my illness. As for finding new romance, have you ever tried to find a date while being open about having Bipolar?

Living on my own is great though. Forgot again, had to move back into a tiny room at my mum’s place because of my illness.

Perhaps focus on the little things – writing this blog is fun! True, it is. Oh, wait, excuse me a minute while I groan on my bed, unable to write, from the intense nausea my medication gives me every single day around lunch time. Good news is, I now always know where the closest public toilet is. Let’s just hope that when I go out I can reach it before I start vomiting!

Focus on your future? Yeah, because the fact that I couldn’t handle the stress of university last year makes me so hopeful for my return. I don’t worry at all about how I may never finish university, that I may never become a teacher like I hoped. Might be for the better, considering how stressful that career is, and late nights grading papers or making lesson plans will do little to help mania.

But isn’t your dream motherhood, not teaching? True, I want nothing more than to have children. But between being unable to medicate intense pain in my uterus due to my Bipolar (making the chances of surgery to remove my uterus more likely), the high genetic chance of passing on said Bipolar to my children, and the sheer terror of how good a parent I’ll be with this illness, I try not to think too much about all this. Even smaller things like breastfeeding aren’t an option (yum, lithium spiked breast milk…)

My diagnosis means a lot to me. More than I allow myself to feel or admit. Mostly I live with apathy towards it, because allowing myself to feel the hurt of how much it changed my life is too much. I tell myself that it isn’t all bad. And it isn’t. I find a lot of joy in my days, and I am still me.

But the truth is that my diagnosis meant I lost an important part of me. It meant losing the fire that lit the passion in my heart.

I will get it back someday. I am inherently hopeful person and nothing can take that from me. In the meantime, just know that a diagnosis is not just a label.

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