As of 21 October 2020, this diagnosis—Bipolar 1 Disorder with Psychosis—is a reality in my life. Prior to that point in my life, the totality of my mental identity was neatly summarized as Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Anxiety and Depression. That came straight from my military discharge orders. Yes, I still have that diagnosis in the form of Chronic PTSD, but now I have this additional roadblock to sanity: Bipolar Disorder.
I was afraid to tell anyone else because I thought that would make the diagnosis real. Well, the diagnosis is real whether or not I tell anyone about it, so now you know. I have Bipolar Disorder. This is different from having PTSD. PTSD is a disorder that anyone could end up with because anyone could suffer a trauma—anyone in the whole wide world at any time. Bipolar. That is not something that just anyone (or everyone) could get. For me, then, this diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is causing genuine grief. I am grieving the loss of my self-acceptance. I no longer accept myself. Part of me is forever gone (and has been, I guess, but it did not have a name until about a month ago when my illness decided to manifest in a different manner), leaving me to pick up what pieces are left and try to put them together without anyone noticing what a huge portion of me is gone.
I do not know how to tell others because I do not know how to tell myself. How do I tell myself that I have PTSD and Bipolar? That is not an easy sell to self or others, let me tell you. Nobody asks for mental illness. Nobody who has it wants more of it. On top of that, if you are religious at all, you might begin to question your higher power, who- or whatever that is, about what the implications of this and the consequences of your next actions could be.
In short, now you know. If you have read this, just know that, if my writing is crazy, it is because I have a little crazy going on. Thanks for understanding. Keep reading, keep writing…