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 https://www.psycom.net/bipolar-definition-dsm-5