I was diagnosed bipolar in 1995 at the age of 40. I had never heard of bipolar. I had heard the smart remarks that people made, about people being bi-polar, but I didn’t know what it was.
Well, almost 20 years later, I still can’t say I truly know what it is. I was told by one of the best, if not the best, psychiatrist in the states, know one knows exactly what bipolar is. It is a disease that affects the brain. Different chemicals have been depleted to different degrees, so therefore each of us are affected differently. That is why, sometimes, it seems to take a long time to get better. We need to find a doctor we trust, which will work with the psychiatrist or psychologist, so they can find the right combination of drugs we need. We must continue the drug they prescribe. If we don’t they can’t monitor us right and figure out what combination we need.
Also, find someone you trust, who can think for you, when you can’t think straight for yourself, that knows, or will learn about the disease. I know it is hard sometimes. The adjustment to the drugs, and the side affects are sometimes hard. I hate it. But…Bipolar is a disease that we can live with and it can be managed. We will get better! It is hard to believe, I know, while going through the different symptoms but we can. Bipolar is not something we need to be ashamed of. I believe it is a emotional problem, caused by trauma, abuse, drug and alcohol abuse. I believe it becomes a physical disease, that affects us emotionally, and then we act out mentally. It is like having any other disease. It is like brain cancer. But… we can be helped, and get better.
We can live a good, long life. I like to tell people, “I have Bipolar, it does not have me! It does not define who I am. I am Cheryl. If I had cancer would you call me “Cancer? Then don’t say I am Bipolar.” I believe I have learned a lot about Bipolar, depression, and life that I might not have, if I didn’t have Bipolar. We are going to make it!!! We can get through this. Remember, “We HAVE BIPOLAR, it DOES NOT HAVE US!”