I’ve been actually diagnosed bipolar for almost 7 years, yet I can look back at my entire life and know that my family and I should have realized it long before then. Since being diagnosed, I haven’t been bashful about telling anyone and everyone who will listen about my “disorder”. I don’t see it as a disorder, I just see it as part of who I am. I’ve seen my fare share of people who flinched and backed away when I told them I am bipolar, but this is why I do it. I tell people about my hospitalizations, times when I was extremely depressed, and extremely manic, so they can see that even though the media portrays people who have mental illnesses as drains on society who are homicidal psychos, we can be and ARE functioning members of society. I make sure to let them know that through years of therapy and indescribable amounts of self control the person that they are talking to is not on any medication and that I control my bipolar, not the other way around. I make sure they understand that though society sees me as “crazy”, I work 7 days a week to take care of my family and make sure my children have enough food to eat, toys to play with and clothes to keep them warm.

I know myself better than most people will ever know themselves. I can tell when I’m cycling. I can bring myself down from mania and back up from depression, but I also know when I am beyond my own control and will call the police to restrain me or take myself to the hospital if needed. While in the hospital I like to help people understand that they don’t have to let their disorder control them, they can be the one in control. If anyone is reading this who is bipolar, and you want to know my secret, it’s simple: you have to want to control yourself. That is the kicker. A lot of the people I have spoken to in the hospital don’t want to control themselves they just want to be “normal”, well, sadly, this isn’t possible for us at this point in time. After you decide you want to control yourself, you have to understand something else: the only thing you can control is yourself. Nothing else. When you can accept that, you will be well on your way to controlling yourself. Keep in mind, I’m not saying that you need to drop your mess now and try to control yourself. You can’t expect to succeed by do that, but in time, it took me more than 5 years, you might just get there.

For those of you who aren’t bipolar and are reading this. We use bipolar to describe a person, and most think that this is all that needs to be said about some who is bipolar. Well, I’m here to tell you, my name is Chris, I have brown hair, hazel eyes, I’m about 6′, and weigh about 175. I have a beautiful wife, I have a 2 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old and a 6 week old. I work two jobs, and about 65 hours a week, I have a great sense of humor, I like movies, I love music, am sweet, humble, a gentleman, I hold the door for anyone and I am extremely out going. Talking to people is my favorite hobby, but I also like football, basketball, and hockey, working on cars and working on computers. I love watching he science channel, watching shows about space and reading about anything science related. Somehow, “bipolar” doesn’t do a good job of describing me. Am I bipolar? Yes, I am, but that is just a minuscule part of who I really am, who I really am is a person, just like you.

5 responses to “Chris”

  1. William says:

    Bravo! Now, at age 62, after many years of uncontrolled mental illness (Major Depressive Disorder and PD NOS), hospitals, ECT, etc., I have a real recovery. I work at a residential program for people with serious diagnoses. I tell the residents, the staff – everybody – this is what I have, this is how I control it, this is what I have suffered through, this is why I am happy today. Many people don’t believe me. They don’t believe in the illness or they don’t believe in the recovery. I don’t argue. I just let them see who I am now. That is the best thing you can do. I’m glad you do it too.

  2. Ronna says:

    Good for you. I, too as you are am bipolar, but also I am many other things as well. Nurse, grandma, caretaker to animals, artist, friend,singer, mom, I have been diagnosed since I was in my late twenties, most of this was while being single mom and student. It hit me hard this year at age 51 and all my coping skills, knowledge, strength just disappeared. I felt so betrayed. After all these years my disorder which I thought I knew and had under control turned on me and turned my life upside down. Maybe hormones are involved in this go round, but facing it all again with new meds, new doc, therapy. Thanks for your story makes me have hope again.

  3. Gayle says:

    it sounds like you are in a great place about your diagnosis. I think those of us with this illness have similarities. I hope you continue to be able to judge your episodes. After twenty years with this illness, I have been lucky enough not to have been hospitalized since then. For that reason I take medication, attend counseling and go to a peer support group. I have also adjusted my work to a less stressful profession. Best of luck to you and everyone on their recovery journey.

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. You are very brave! I, too have been diagnosed as Bipolar. For quite a few years, I fought the diagnosis but after quite a few hospitalizations, I am sticking to my prescribed medications and doctor’s appointments. I am finally able somewhat to know when I begin to get hypomanic or manic and go for help. Thanks for reminding me we are not are labels! Hope every so often you and your wife and three young children can relax some before moving on to next job or chore.

  5. Randy says:

    Chris, thank you for sharing. I was diagnosed in March bi-polar with ptsd. In 2004 I died three different times due to a very serious suicide attempt. I watched my oldest daughter stand over me and beg me not to die…When I was released from the hospital I chose to learn all I could about the illness and myself. I am not fortunate enough to go without medications like you, it is what it is…I still go to weekly counseling meetings and see a psr worker weekly. I have an active crisis plan, all the phone numbers I might need, and the three local hospitals written down (encase something happens to my phone).Again thanks for sharing!

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