Bipolar is a disease that takes over your brain – well, parts of your brain anyway – and these affected parts of your brain change your psychology right along with them. So once when you felt “normal” or let’s say, average, you now feel utterly destroyed. Your emotions are altered thanks to the attack on your brain.
And what’s worse about this is that bipolar or depression fundamentally changes who you think you are at that moment. If you used to be a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky sort, in a depression, nothing could be farther from the truth. When manic, all your thoughtful, careful ways become things of the past. You can barely identify with the person you were pre-mood.
And perhaps even worse than all that is that some part of you sees this dissonance. You know that who you are at that moment isn’t who you really are. It’s like someone else, a crazy person, moved right into your head and body and coopted your life. Bipolar snatched your body and brain.
Depression and You
Depression is not like being sad. Depression is not like a wet blanket. Depression is not like a ball and chain. Depression is all of these things combined but much more. Depression is a fundamental change in the way your brain, the way you, operate. The you that you know yourself to be is altered. Where once you loved doing charity work, now you only want to sleep. Where once you loved to walk along the beach, now it makes you sad. Where once you enjoyed cooking meals, now you would rather heat a TV dinner. All of the little bits, the little opinions, the little actions, the little thoughts, that make up your day have been changed.
It feels like you stumbled into someone else`s body.
Mania or even hypomania is just as bad. Mania is a complete alteration of thoughts also. Where once you loved ice cream now you don`t eat. Where once you loved lazy Sunday mornings, now you don`t sleep. Where once you were rational and logical, now you`re prone to flights of fancy. Where once you were on a tight, responsible budget, now you wrack up debt you in no way can afford. All of the decisions you make are suddenly compromised. People around you know that you aren`t you but you`re likely too busy being someone else to notice.
Bipolar Takes Over
And somewhere just outside of the brain and just outside of the bipolar is the watcher that knows your body and your brain have been snatched by another being. It’s very difficult to explain. I can only say that it’s clear that you’re not yourself and yet there is no way to move the foreign being out of your system. There is no path from here to there. The body snatcher, the brain snatcher, is stronger than you are. For the moment anyway.
The only thing to do in these moments is to remember that you are not your mental illness. You are not your bipolar. Yes, the disease moved in, burrowed into your head, and made a nest, but it`s not you. And you`re coming back. Fighting the illness is about getting the snatcher out of your body. Taking medication is about letting the actual you hold the reins again. Going to therapy is about beating the body snatcher at its own game and wrestling it out of there.
It might win today`s battle, but over time, you can win the war.