Bipolar – Seeing Life Through a Glass Differently

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December 19, 2017

Throughout my life, I always felt different, and I never knew why. Growing up, I felt this lingering and persistent feeling like I didn’t belong or fit in anywhere. I was torn between wanting and not wanting to belong. It felt confusing.

hot air iballoon

I have always taken solace in my art, music and writing. It seemed to be the one place where I could shine, where I could say a big “stuff you” to all who either ridiculed or rejected me.

Being outrageous was my defence. That was when I wasn’t retreating into my shell of vulnerability and fear. Fear of what? I wasn’t really sure.

In spite of all this, there were times when I was the life of the party with the other kids. I had this little gang of girls in primary school who I had fun with, and another kid, a boy, who I had a close, but tumultuous friendship with. He was like me in many ways.

My friendships were like my Bipolar. Up and down. There one minute, gone the next.

I could never accept myself purely as I was, and I think that is sad.

Back then, I didn’t know I had Bipolar. The teachers had no clue either. They spoke to my Mum about wanting to send me to a child psychiatrist or psychologist, I’m not sure which one. They thought I had Autism because I had this habit of rocking back and forth. At times, I was behavioural. I was creative. One teacher I loved thought I was ahead of my time.

I was known for my love of animals. I felt for them, cared for them, brought them home.

It was the late 70’s and early 80’s. Nobody knew then what they know today about mental health issues.

I didn’t recognise the many gifts I possessed, nor did I realise I needed to be able to do things in a way that worked for me. In those days, every kid was expected to conform to a cookie-cutter standard way of thinking, doing, being and believing. None of it was me. I rebelled in frustration.

I viewed my world through a glass differently.

I still view my world through a glass differently.

I hear music and noise constantly in my head. I move my hands and tap my feet in time to some tune only I can hear and recognise. I hear radio chatter. It never stops. I live with it on a daily basis, never knowing anything different.

When depressed, everything moves in slow motion. I feel like I am swimming through treacle. It is painful and awful, distressing. I don’t function. I am unwell.

I live life through the kaleidoscopic lens of Bipolar. And today, I realise that is perfectly okay.

I don’t have to beat myself up for not being able to function in many employment situations. I walk dogs for a living, which supplements my Disability Pension. It is my way of doing something for myself, within my capacity. I work limited hours. Working too many hours causes me to unravel and break down.

I am not lazy. I have a mental illness. I didn’t choose it. It chose me. While at times, it is a struggle to live with Bipolar, I know I am an okay person who does the best she can in every area of my life.

There are some days when I hate my Bipolar. That’s just how it is for me. I want to kick its arse, but instead, it kicks my arse, and is way too powerful for me.

So I ride it out, and try to be good to myself when I am being kicked around by Bipolar.

I no longer act out in self-destructive and dangerous ways. (Drug and alcohol abuse) This has got to put me ahead of my game.

I write about my experiences. In doing so, I share my story with others. This is my way of accepting me for me. I no longer hide in shame. Writing helps me to overcome the stigma surrounding mental illness.

I hope my writing helps others. Maybe someone will relate.

Because we are all beautiful as we are, illness or no illness.

We are brave and strong. We have learnt many skills in order to cope and thrive in spite of having mental illness.

Since being diagnosed with Bipolar 2, I have found support from others who are in the same boat as me.

It’s nice to know there is a local and an international community of people who also see life through a glass differently.

This post was originally posted on The Many Moods of Me

Stephanie Poleson

Stephanie Poleson

Stephanie Poleson is an artist, musician, and writer. She completed a Bachelors degree in Fine Art at UNSW in 1991, a Diploma in Education in 1992, and a Graphic Design Diploma in 2015. She sings and plays with Blonde Baggage at Sydney venues, walks dogs and blogs about living with Bipolar 2 Disorder.

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  • Amy Brown Krolak

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I know it helps both you and others to put yourself out there and it’s very brave and I commend you.

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