When most of us were young we learned that life isn’t fair. Yes, that boy got a bigger slice of cake than you. Yes, that girl gets better grades than you even though she doesn’t study. Yes, that’s boy’s imaginary friend’s clothes are nicer than yours. Life isn’t fair.
But when I was diagnosed with bipolar at 20, my definition of “unfair” had to be reviewed.
Disease Isn’t Fair
It is true that no disease is fair. No person asks to get a disease and diseases are, by their very nature, random. It’s never fair to get diabetes or cancer or the flu. It’s random and you have to deal with it.
Are Some Things Less Fair Than Others?
In point of fact, lots of nasty things have happened to me. Most of them have been pretty unfair. But I can step forward from these things in my life because they are things, discrete experiences, they don’t have to affect me every day. You get therapy, you burn a scarecrow in effigy, you move on.
But I never move on from bipolar. It isn’t a thing. It’s everything. It’s sleep schedules and med schedules and bipolar symptoms and medication side-effects and moods and therapy and doctors and control every day of my life. There’s never a break. Not for a moment. I’m bipolar now. A minute from now. A day from now. A year from now. Always sick.
Is it Particularly Unfair to be Destroyed at 20?
At 20-years-old I had a pretty normal life. School, relationships, a place to live, an on-track career, bad hair – pretty standard stuff. And then I became bipolar and broke apart. And while I don’t recommend that anyone get sick with anything I especially don’t recommend getting a life-long illness at 20. You have too many years you have to live with it yet to go.
Is Diligently Applying Every Known Therapy and Yet Remaining Broken Unfair?
I have tried every medication, therapy, and bipolar treatment imaginable for this thing. And it doesn’t work, treatment barely makes a dent. I’ve done everything right and I’m still sick. Of course, now I’m fat, ugly, scarred, old and sick. It seems unfair.
Is Still Being Destroyed at 32 Unfair?
Illnesses steal your life. They might still moments, or days, or weeks, or years, but they steal your life. And as my entire life is structured around not getting worse it seems that other people just can’t deal with, or fit into this rigid structure. Bipolar has stolen friendship and love and the possibility of ever having children.
Bipolar IS Unfair
And so while I realize that Life Isn’t Fair and that we all get bad cards to deal with now and again, the level of unfairness brought forth with this disease still strikes me. I shouldn’t have to deal with this. I should get to be happy. I should get to get married. I should get to have someone who loves me. I should get to have the things that I want.
But I can’t. I was born with a bad brain. And it’s not fair.
[As a quick aside to the people who will tell me I have a bad attitude: 1. The fact that bipolar isn’t fair is an actual fact. Admitting it isn’t negative, it’s honest. 2. Just because people don’t admit to thinking this out loud doesn’t mean that a huge number of us aren’t thinking it. Admission and expression are helpful in acceptance of such realities.]