After years of struggle with erratic mood swings—periods of mania followed by debilitating depression—and doses of anxiety and frustration, I finally have an answer and a reason explaining my disturbing behavior. And after struggling on my own, I finally found the courage to talk about it openly.
I am diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder.
I need to take anti-depressants, mood stabilizer, and anti-psychotic medicines.
I tend to be very happy, energetic, full of life, but I can also shut down for days, not leaving my room with lights just switched off. I can sleep for 24 hours straight, no disturbance, no anything; I tend to over-eat, but I can also survive a day or two without food. There is no in-between, only black and white, no gray area.
Last week, I cancelled on everything and everyone because of my recent episode. I went home right after work, took a nap, woke up and cried for 5 hours for a reason I couldn’t explain. That’s it, I’ve had enough. I was so close, really close…
My fiancé is always the innocent victim of my episodes. He is the one who sees and experiences the best AND worst of me. I feel sorry for everything that he has to go through because of my condition, but he keeps telling me that we’re partners, and this is how partnership works— through good and bad, even worst.
I only had the courage to tell my mother about this just today because I didn’t want her to worry about me. We are miles away from each other and knowing my mother, she worries a lot about me. I told her to not worry too much because I am doing everything I can to be better—or at least to be functional again—for me, for her, for Papa, for Dencio. I immediately changed the topic because I can sense that her voice is breaking, and mine, too. See, I can shut people down just like that.
My close friends weren’t immune to my dysfunctional ways either because I already shut them down for I feel that I am just a burden to them and basically to everyone else around me. They didn’t know my condition, either, because I chose to not share it with them. The bottom line is, I pushed them away. God knows I miss them every day. I hope they are okay, and I know they are so I am okay with that.
My decision-making gets the best and the worst of me.
Even so, against all odds, I hope everyone would keep on knocking on my door even if I keep on rejecting their help. I pray they would be patient and wait for me to reappear while I fix myself. Perhaps by then, I would have the courage to tell them it was MY problem, not theirs.
Sharing this takes a lot of courage from my end but I am sharing this not because I need your pity (trust me, I have too much self-pity so I think I’m all good this time). This is for everyone’s awareness that EVERY ONE of us is a fighting battle. This is for everyone’s awareness that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or whatever you call it, IS NOT A JOKE. People who have this condition don’t make this up. THIS IS REAL and needs urgent attention.
If you are experiencing emotional distress or thinking about things that will harm yourself, please do remember that help is ALWAYS available. It’s never too late.
I am diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder, and I am not ashamed of it. Let’s stop the stigma;