I just watched the weather change from beautiful sunshine and 70 degrees, to light rain, then hail, then heavy rain, sun came back out, then more rain. This happened within 15 minutes. Now we are under a tornado watch until 9:00 pm. The only thing missing is snow. In Colorado, it is possible.
As I sat here contemplating the weather changes, I realized it was the perfect representation of bipolar. Personally, I hate when people call the weather bipolar, but in this case, I get it. My son just called home, and he has a tornado outside the house as I type. Crazy, right? That, my friends, is the life in and around bipolar disorder. I do not need to explain further, I am sure you get it.
While the tornado was outside of town, the people in town were preparing, moving downstairs, and watching weather reports for what is next. This is what those living with a person diagnosed with bipolar are doing non-stop. The mood changes come fast and hard at times. It is best if all have knowledge and respect for the disorder. Being able to understand what is happening is helpful. There will be frustrations, it will be difficult; but you will have sight of the radar. Preparing for the storm is easier when you know what is coming.
The day was September 11, 2001. We all know it as one of the worst days in American history. In my life, the days leading up to 9/11 were the lead in to battle. On that specific day, I was recovering from my first round of passing kidney stones. It was my first experience, and I had been in the hospital. Released on heavy medication the evening of September 10, I was home from the work on that Tuesday, sleeping. I woke up groggy from the meds, and when I looked at the T.V., I watched an airplane flying directly into the towers. I would later learn it was the second plane.
I went through the day watching one tragedy after another, and the news cycled from one state to the other. As I watched, something inside snapped. By the time my husband came home, I felt like a different person. I don’t know if it was the pain medication, the tragedy, or bipolar being bipolar, but rage took over. There was hollering, there were tears, there were police, and this began a separation in our marriage.
I left that night in a place I had never been. I went from light rain, to hail, to a tornado, all within a few short hours. The next day, I felt myself slipping into one of the darkest depressions I have ever encountered. Within only a couple days, I lost my life, as I knew it. It would be months before I hit the bottom of the pit I was falling in. The climb would prove to be a life changing experience. I needed that fall and the climb to find myself in the midst of Bipolar Disorder. Up until that point, I was a Bipolar patient. Following the tumultuous months of recovery, I would evolve to be a Woman with Bipolar Disorder. The distinction came when I realized the storm wasn’t happening to me, but I was the storm. I was not a victim; I was the guilty one, the culprit causing the chaos.
To deal with the forecast ahead, I had to keep my eyes on the radar. I had to learn more about myself than I thought possible, especially my mental behaviors, reactions, thought process, and coping mechanisms. I may still exhibit all the elements of the storm; the difference is the diminished impact. My willingness to understand how this works removed the tensions that led to the severe responses that once had control. I never want to lose the way I did back in 2001. I am better than that. I am a woman who has Bipolar Disorder, but it will never have me.