Content Warning: Some of this post may be rough to read. Descriptions of depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm and mental illness.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift lately. The re-release of Fearless is fantastic, and the new songs are great. It’s funny that a lot of them are written about Joe Jonas… fourteen-year-old Kyrie is scandalized. But honestly, it’s been nice to revisit music that I listened to back in the day. Combine that with the resurgence of the scene/emo aesthetic on TikTok and it honestly kind of feels like I’m going to get to relive some of the best years of my life, but this time with more money and freedom.
And I deserve that. I’ve had a hell of a few years, but things are definitely looking up now. If I get to relive some of the happy moments, I’m going to.
I’m doing better now that I have in a very, very long time. It’s wild. If you’d told me a year ago that a tiny little pill once a day was going to make everything so much better I would have laughed my ass off. But here I am, a month into my meds, and everything is so, so much better.
The days where I struggle to fight off urges to yeet myself into oblivion? Gone.
The days where I’m so fucking hyper I can’t get anything done because I can’t sit still? Gone.
Since my diagnosis is I’ve been doing a lot of research on bipolar disorder. Specifically bipolar II, which is what I have. When most people think of BP, they think of BP I, which is the one where you have the highs (mania) that you can’t control and then moments of depression. But the highs are the bigger problem, and often end up with people doing dangerous or reckless things that can get them hospitalized.
With BP II, it’s kind of the opposite. I’m much more likely to be depressed, and that depression is likely to be extremely severe, like 50% more severe than the lows with BP I. But my highs (hypomania) are easier to deal with.
The more I learn, the more I realize I’ve probably been struggling with this for the better part of a decade. My mental health struggles really started around my sixteenth birthday, when I started having panic attacks. Turns out you aren’t “born” bipolar, but it develops over time, usually in your teens or early twenties. I used to joke as a teen that I was bipolar because my mood would bounce around. Turns out I was right.
Regardless, the meds have been helping in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I used to have urges… you know when you’re horny? It’s like a physical feeling as well as a mental one? Well, it used to be like I was horny, but instead of wanting to get railed I wanted to carbon monoxide myself. And some days just fighting off those thoughts and feelings took all of my energy. I was barely able to function. The last time I had one of those urges was day 3 of my meds. Now, I can’t even put myself in the state of mind I was in when I wanted to die.
I’m just… perfectly fine.
And it’s showing in everything. It’s like I have more brain power – I’m able to focus better, which means I’m actually getting things done. House work? I can do it now. Work work? I’ve been more productive in the last few weeks than I have been in years. The difficulty I’ve been having eating? Did you know difficulty swallowing is a symptom of mania? Because I didn’t. But now I can eat just fine. Even my anxiety is less severe. Literally every aspect of my life has improved over the last month and all I had to do was take a fucking pill. Magical.
On one hand it’s frustrating that it was that easy. That I’ve struggled for ten years – the last three especially – when there was a simple solution all along. On the other hand, I’m so grateful that it was that easy. When seeking help for mental illness, you hear horror stories. Involuntary hospitalization for suicidal thoughts. Misdiagnosis and medicine that makes everything worse because it’s treating the wrong thing. I think I’m incredibly blessed and lucky that it worked out okay for me. The Universe was like “this bitch has suffered enough let’s make this easy for her”.
While I’m thrilled that I’m feeling better, having a diagnosis also has some challenges I wasn’t expecting. For one, apparently there are people who think I shouldn’t even be talking about it. That it should be a secret – something I hide because it will change how people view me. I actually had someone tell me to keep it to myself. Which is bullshit.
This is something that’s effected me all of my adult life. Why would I keep it to myself or be ashamed of it when I’ve literally been living life on hard mode for years? I’m fucking proud. Look at the things I’ve accomplished despite having this invisible impairment – I own a business, I own a house, in the eyes of capitalism I’m successful. Imagine what’s next for me now that I have this under control? I’m going to be unstoppable.
The only shame I feel is the fact that I had to struggle for so long. I’m ashamed that when I asked for help at 16, I didn’t get it. I’m ashamed that I spent years feeling like a failure when in reality I was just sick. I’m ashamed that we live in a society where people who struggle are looked down on when there are fucking solutions to help them. I’m ashamed that if I didn’t have insurance I wouldn’t be able to afford the treatment that’s making such a difference to me. Those are things to be ashamed of.
Being ashamed of having a mental illness? Nah. Miss me with that shit. I’ve got stigmas to break. A fucking life to live. If you think less of me for having bipolar disorder, that’s a you problem, boo boo. I’m going to continue to be perfectly fine.