Bipolar, The Unpredictable

Forest Gump's momma was right, "Life is like a box of chocolates." It's never predictable. You are not guaranteed all the best life has to offer. You have to make the best with what you have. And as with whichever piece of chocolate you choose, that's the one you have to swallow. At the age of five-years-old, I didn't think much about what flavor of chocolate I would end up getting as a young adult. Why would a child at that age?

As I got older, I began dreaming of what my life would look like, metaphorically speaking, I was hopeful that my life would end up looking more like a piece of dark chocolate and not like a piece of the bitter tropical coconut, which I strongly disliked.

Bipolar disorder is one of those chocolates that are pretty good at blending in but taste awful when you take your first bite. There's no putting it back in the package, and no sense in spitting it out. Regardless of whether or not you chose your piece wisely, life has a natural way of knowing ahead of time how things will play out.

If you're lucky, you'll get the dark chocolate, while others like me, however, get stuck with the odd flavor of coconut lingering on their tongue.

When dealing with life's unpredictable outcomes, it's best to decide. Either stay down or get back up. And as for the taste of coconut in your mouth, you've either got to brush your buck up and teeth or suffer in silence. Regardless of how you proceed, the life you are given will, by no means, be ideal.

The battle with manic depression is lifelong. Although you didn't choose to have this mental illness that affects your daily life and ability to function, it chose you. While it is not an ideal situation, it is up to those who are afflicted to decide how they are going to proceed with the life they've been given. Nothing is ever going to be normal with Bipolar Depression; it's not supposed to be, no one said it was going to be easy.

You don't realize you're different from the rest until the fact that your mind works at an unusually chaotic pace becomes apparent. With Bipolar Disorder, the mechanics of the brain function abnormally in contrast to someone not affected by this particular chemical imbalance. Sights, sounds, smells, and typical everyday tasks can be increasingly difficult to process, and often times, send the mind and nervous system into a tizzy - awakening one of two moods: manic or depressive.

What people don't realize about individuals who have Bipolar Disorder is that it's not a choice or a controlled substance that can be treated and cured within a matter of months. This mental illness is a life-long ordeal that either gets easier with time (as you learn what coping skills are practical for you), or it stays a constant struggle to survive.

These mood swings (an understatement to say the least) last for weeks, and are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually draining. They're not something you "get over," "deal with," or purposefully conjure up in your head to garner attention or sympathy. It exists. It's real - "it's all in your head." Yes; that's why they call it a mental illness.

And because it exists, and because o many suffer, there should really be no reason to hide and manage it alone in seclusion. It's not contagious. It would be a relief if the majority of the population knew that for a fact. Bipolar Disorder isn't like the flu. You can't treat it with a shot. Honestly, that would be ideal; however, it takes more than that to get the mind and body into a peaceful state where life can be lived fully, and some form of normalcy exists.

The process is slow. It takes months, if not years, to find the right mixture of medications; moreover, it takes a strong person to want to survive and thrive. Diets, therapy, coping skills, educated family, and friends are essential elements of treatment and success.


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