It is worth it: my life with Bipolar disorder


Picture © Elena Figoli

I have been a member of ActivaMent for some time, and even though I love writing, especially for adults, I still have not done a Blog. I guess I never found the time. But now, after watching the video of Eleanor Longden telling her life story, a lesson in courage, hope and self-esteem, the time has come.

I had my first episode at thirty. Before that, nothing special had ever happened, except that I had been an adolescent, then later a young woman, something special. To my family, I was a bit strange. My mood changed from time to time. This behaviour was attributed to me being more sensitive compared  to the others around me. I remember that for a few years I wrote a diary, which by the way I do not know where ended up. In it, I transcribed perfectly the roller-coaster that was my life. The ups and downs, only to go up and down once more, like the tide. Actually, something special had been happening.

With precision I was diagnosed: Bipolar disorder. Words which I, nor my family or friends, had ever heard before. The first one to confront this stranger which had possessed her daughter was my mother. She did not let the world come crashing in. She “faced the bull head on” and gathered all the information and help necessary to live with this disorder which has interrupted our lives.

Me, on the other hand, put myself to ignoring it. I was convinced that this was like the chickenpox: you only have it once, so the next time it will affect someone else. But I was wrong, the next time I was the one who was affected again. I could not ignore it, the disorder was there, and it was not leaving me. I rebelled, swore, shifted the blame, and finally, I submitted.

I could go on working, go out with my friends, travel. In other words, live a normal life. But it was normal in appearance only.

Fear had taken hold of me. Fear that the stress from work, emotional encounters, my ghosts, could cause an episode. Fear of traveling long distances, not falling asleep at night. Terrified of losing the person that best knows my disorder, to walk the dark tunnel into which depression hounds you.

One day Paulo Coelho‘s book feel into my hands and I read: “Once again I felt an immense desire to live when I discovered that the meaning of my life was that which I wanted to give it”. It was like the sound of a starting gun going off. I went to coaching therapy and this meaning slowly opened itself to me. Many aspects of my life changed, one of the most important being my relationship with the disorder. I quit the submission, it was not a punishment. I simply accepted it. It is even possible that I talked to it. If we were to be companions for life, I should know it, so that it could walk freely, taking all the necessary precautions in order to avoid a new episode.

I do not know what the future holds – does anyone know? – but I do know that it is worth trying. That we can, both on the inside and on the outside, live normal lives.

Montse Baró

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