My shiny, new diagnosis

Hi, my name is Bobbi.

And I’m bipolar.

Yikes, even typing that sentence has me feeling like I’m wearing giant clown shoes or spilling out of a bra two cup sizes too small. The diagnosis doesn’t resonate or fit, but according to the court-appointed psychiatrist and psychologist for my involuntary commitment, it’s mine.

Disclaimer: I’ve spent more time researching and debating which toothbrush to buy than I’ve spent researching bipolar disorder. My future, far more informed self is already cringing reading this. However, Struggle Bus Confessions has always been my place to heal messily and in real time. Here’s the messy middle, y’all. I apologize in advance for my ignorance.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5, bipolar disorders are described as “a group of brain disorders that cause extreme fluctuation in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function.”

I’m diagnosed with Bipolar I specifically which “is a manic-depressive disorder that can exist both with and without psychotic episodes.” 

Additionally, bipolar disorder falls between “depressive disorders and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. People who live with bipolar disorder experience periods of great excitement, overactivity, delusions, and euphoria (known as mania) and other periods of feeling sad and hopeless (known as depression). As such, the use of the word bipolar reflects this fluctuation between extreme highs and extreme lows.”

If I’m being completely honest, I hate the term itself. “Bi-” signifies a binary which feels like you’re either one or the other without a lot of gray in between. In this case, manic or depressive. For the majority of my life, I haven’t felt either one of those ways chronically.

I hate that it’s mine, too. With one single event of manic-like thinking and behavior, I’ve managed to secure a diagnosis. I’ve felt the euphoric high but have yet to experience the low. There has been no crash. My mood has never been dramatically swing-y until having a spiritual awakening several weeks ago. 

So, yeah. It’s complicated.

I’m court-ordered to take medication and am currently initiating my nightly med disbursement of 10mg of aripiprazole (Abilify) and 5mg of melatonin at night. 

And they’re fine. I just don’t know if they’re necessary. Time to start researching, I guess.


Truschel, R. (2020, September). Bipolar definition and DSM-5 diagnostic criteria – psycom. PSYCOM. Retrieved May 8, 2023, from

Let’s normalize celebrating ourselves

Birthdays rock. It’s the one day it’s socially acceptable to want to feel celebrated out loud. On every September 10th, I give myself permission to ask for whatever the heck I want without guilt or strings attached. 

On the other 364 days of the year, I have this internal fear of being perceived as needy or selfish for the audacity of having wants and desires, but for this one special day, I get a hall pass. 

I’m having a revelation this year, though. I’m in the process of accepting that I cannot control how other people perceive me, but I CAN control how I perceive myself.

I know I can’t expect balloons and cards and thoughtful presents from my loved ones daily, but I can honor myself in small ways year round. I don’t have to wait until September to treat myself to that secondhand leather jacket I’ve been eyeing up. What’s stopping me from eating my favorite curry pad thai on any random Tuesday? I can delight in a warm cup of coffee and quiet time to write any day of the year, not just on my birthday.

It’s my own responsibility to celebrate myself.

Does wanting to feel loved and celebrated daily make someone needy and selfish? No. It makes us human. 

Can we agree to normalize vocalizing our dreams and desires? We have this one precious, fleeting life that is all ours – not anybody else’s. Pretending to be martyrs without needs just breeds resentment against everyone else.

Let’s have the courage to hold on tight to joy and stop shaming ourselves for pursuing it.

We are worthy of joy today and every day. 

Weightless: What I lost by ditching the scale

For years, I had a daily ritual. After waking up, I would stumble to the bathroom and scroll through my phone while on the toilet. I would then strip completely naked. I wanted nothing, not even a hair tie or my Fitbit, to count against me while the scale calculated my “progress.” I would then suck in my stomach, hold my breath, and step on. The screen by my toes would flash three times while I nervously waited before my weight, my score, was calculated for the day.

If that number happened to be lower than the day before? I could exhale. I am a badass goddess! I deserve confidence and love! I can’t wait to text my accountability partners! I am strong and unstoppable!

If it were higher? My stomach would sink and that prickly hot shame feeling would wash over me. I’m a failure. I shouldn’t have eaten that tortilla with my taco last night. I haven’t pooped yet, that must be why the number is higher. I’ll have to eat less today if I want to love myself tomorrow.

The scale became my Magic 8 Ball and set the tone for the day. Would I spend my shower singing or beating myself up with complicated calculations of macros and calories? Logically, I knew my weight could fluctuate daily for many reasons, including water retention, hormones, menstrual cycles, and food sensitivities. Illogically, that didn’t matter.

For years, I gave all of my power to that scale, to that number. Looking back, I can see the havoc this destructive, ineffective ritual unleashed on my self worth. 

I’ve been on a two year long journey to befriend my body again, and step one was abandoning the scale. For too long, I deluded myself that the information it gave was critical. How am I supposed to know if I’m healthy without a scale? I want to be healthy – healthy means thin, right? (wrong)

I’ve spent years letting external indicators – the scale, BMI, societal standards, the opinion of others – be the gauge of how “good” I am. By unfriending the scale, there was one less juror in the trial determining whether or not I deserved to be comfortable in my skin on any given day.  

I knew I made the right decision when several months scale-less, I had a moment of weakness “just to check in.” I stepped on, looked at the number, and it triggered that familiar sinking, prickling, spiral.

Until then, I KNEW I’d been gaining weight and was strangely okay with it for the first time ever. I was buying new clothes a size bigger. I own mirrors. I figured I was healed enough that the number wouldn’t shake me, but it did. 

I backslid a bit in my self love journey. I re-downloaded a calorie tracker on my phone. I googled intense training schedules to punish my body for growing. I avoided the mirror that my fat body was finally beginning to befriend.

Thankfully, this was a short detour. I self medicated with quotes from Sonya Renee Taylor’s book on radical self love titled The Body Is Not an Apology. I shaved my legs, exfoliated, took a bath, and painted my toes. The next day, I carefully did my makeup, donned a fierce outfit, and forgave myself for slipping up and forgetting that my worth is not so variable. 

It’s been two years since I’ve stepped on a scale and looked down at the number. I have absolutely no idea what I weigh, and that is okay. 

Did you know that you’re allowed to ask not to be weighed at doctor’s visits? You have a right to refuse any medical procedure. 

Before I declined getting weighed the first time, I obsessed over what to say and how to defend myself. I rehearsed the following phrase over and over in my head in the waiting room:

“I prefer not to step on the scale. Knowing that number triggers unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns for me.”

There ended up being no need to defend myself further, and my request was immediately granted. My prepared monologue about health at every size went wasted.

 And when I said the same thing at my employer’s yearly biometric health screening, I was treated with respect and understanding. Increasingly, medical professionals are shifting the focus from weight to health instead, and they understand that health is complicated and nuanced and can’t be defined by a single metric or a person’s appearance.

By banishing the scale, I started to take my power back and began advocating for my strong, fat, beautiful body. And now after years of shame and mistreatment, the fractured relationship with my body is healing. She is no longer my enemy. She’s my ally.