A Writer with Bipolar Disorder

It really doesn’t matter what your profession is when you have Bipolar Disorder. When people find out, if they find out, they will undoubtedly say and do things that are unfair, hurtful, and just downright offensive to, about, and around you. There are plenty of people who are very successful who are—yes—suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

Notice that I don’t say they “are” Bipolar. That is liking saying someone “is” cancer or is “a” cancer, instead of saying that someone “has” cancer. I am not “bipolar”, nor am I “a” bipolar. I have Bipolar Disorder. That’s it. That’s all. Yes, it makes me act out and do extreme things sometimes. Yes, it makes me suicidal sometimes. Yes, it gives me the craziest ideas you ever thought of and beyond for writing ideas sometimes. Bipolar Disorder does all of these things in my life, but that doesn’t make me the disease. I am not my disease, and I sincerely wish that people would stop trying to make me into a disorder instead of seeing me as the person that I am.

I also have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. That doesn’t have a great reputation, either. People are somewhat more accepting of that, somehow, than they are of Bipolar Disorder, though. Yes, anyone can end up with PTSD because trauma can happen to anyone. I don’t know why people end up with Bipolar Disorder (trust me, I’d like to know myself), but one is no more nor any less than the other in terms of disability and dysfunction. I’ve dealt with PTSD for 20 years now. It, too, is on a spectrum, and just because I have a name for the rest of what’s been going on with me now (Bipolar Disorder), does not mean that I am any less of a person or that there is “something inherently wrong with [me],” as one horrible psychotherapist once put it to me. Those words were spoken to me 17 years ago, almost 18, and I will never forget them.

Now, as a writer, I can say that Bipolar Disorder can be beneficial if it isn’t a raging mania or depression. I am more creative that a lot of people—I always have been. I am not the single most creative person in the world, of course, but I am different, which people in general mostly see as a bad thing. I do not think that different is bad. Different is different. I am okay with that as long as I don’t have to fight off hoards of nay-sayers in my life. That, by the way, is easier said than done.

So, I am a writer with Bipolar Disorder. I’m also a rock climber, a musician, an artist, and a host of other “things” that go into making up an identity. Most of all, first and foremost, I am a person. Please treat me like one.

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