My name is C.J., I’m 19 and I have bipolar 1 disorder. Contrary to what most people think I would not change a thing about myself, including being bipolar. Yes, the depressions can be relentless and sometimes feel dehumanizing, but before my disorder was affecting me I had a much smaller perspective, and by going through the ups and downs my eyes have been opened to so much. I was lucky to get a medication that worked well for me early but I still struggle, and have never forgotten the vacation days in Florida when I would think about jumping off the balcony and even look over the edge for awhile…in fucking Florida.

But I’m not writing this for sympathy, I’m writing this for change and also a personal idea I’ve been thinking about to help everyone with a mental illness.

First of all, I’m going to modify a common saying in which I don’t like, and that is: your illness doesn’t define you. Instead I would change it to: your illness defines a lot about you (how you think, feel, and respond), but it doesn’t take away all of your humanity unless you give it the missing piece it needs to consume you. I believe that no matter how little you are able to feel, there are still some left, but if even that doesn’t exist there are memories of feeling. Hold on for those memories, remind yourself whenever you see a natural smile that all is not lost…that’s how I survived.

Also, when I get really depressed, I avoid all those people around me because most of the people I’m around don’t make any sense to me. Most are happy, and talkative. Two of the things I hate most while depressed are happy people and talking to happy people (I’m sure many of you know what I mean). Its partially because we want to be happy ourselves and are so far from it we don’t know how to have a happy conversation, so we hide.

But then I came up with this great idea, why don’t we all hide together, come together. One thing I know for sure is being around people that have never had a personal experience with depression or a mental illness can be very unhelpful with regards to the illness itself. They tend to go for the heart when really the head is the thing experiencing trauma. Of course in those times you appreciate the support but its not enough.

I also tend to shy away from even those who are closest to me. The one refuge I found (besides proper medication) is to have some type of social interaction with someone. That person is someone just like you, someone who feels alone even when surrounded. So by talking about their depression or about depressing things actually lifted my spirits, and I’m sure talking with someone who can empathize will be great for you too. By finding a genuine bond with someone and helping each other to find the positive in the problem.

Using this structure I want to create more than a website. I want to create a rehab type place where you can come and go as you please without any requirements of any kind. Therapy outside of the psychiatrists office and into a hangout spot with listeners, ‘understanders’, and friends. That sounds much better than going to see a guy who nods and tells you its only temporary and you will get over it eventually.

So ya if anyone thinks this is a good/bad idea please leave a comment. Everyone’s input matters, even those who may not think it does ☺

6 responses to “Chris”

  1. Erin says:

    go for it. I’m bipolar and need to know others like me

  2. Nicole says:

    I think you’re onto something great. Community can definitely help with the healing process! I say go for it.

  3. Kim says:

    Hey Chris,
    My turning point this year was in February on vacation in Florida. A place I always found healing.I was so hopeless and tired of fighting. So many beautiful memories there. I also knew the next morning after my meltdown that I had to kill myself. My husband who I had met in Florida 18yrs before, literally pulled me through. I told him what I had decided and that there was no hope for me. My life seemed wonderful , but I was not. Hid my depression for years from everyone except family. I haven’t shut up about who I really am to anyone since that evening in Florida. I am improving currently with no suicidal thoughts. I have found some relief with med changes. I am tired of suffering in shame! No more!

  4. Bonnie says:

    Chris, I’m 59 years old and my bipolar disorder wasn’t diagnosed until I was about 42. What you’ve written is brilliant and you’ve found words for so many things I’ve felt and experienced since I was a child but could never out into words. I’m in.

  5. Denise says:

    Yes! Go for it! Just let us know where to go for it…

  6. Donna B says:

    Chris, I have suffered with Bipolar for over 35 years and completely know where you are coming from. Just wanted to let you know that I feel the same way about talking to someone who can emphathize and that is why I became a nurse and went to work in a mental health center. This has had many benefits for both me and my clients. They generally like talking to some one who has been through something similar and we have laughed and cried over some of our many bouts with this condition and some of the quirks that we have and tricks we use to deal with them. As I was going through clinicals, I never felt fully fulfilled in any of the other medical disciplines until I did my mental health rotation and wonder of wonders, I felt completely at home. Keep thinking of new and innovative ways to deal with your issues but everyone else. You are an inspiration.

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