The Illness That Defines You – Guest Post by Miss Bipolar.

As many of you know, I sometimes publish (and actively encourage) guest posts from folk.  I do so as I truly believe that it is important that we as a community get to share and in order the provide folk with an opportunity to actively contribute to the guild.   I do of course reserve the right to edit anything which is submitted and to decline to publish anything which I feel I shouldn’t publish.  And the criteria I use in deciding what to publish, what to edit, or even what not to publish, isn’t about me agreeing with the content of the guest post it is more about the quality of it, and the impact I feel it would have on our members.

The following guest post was submitted to us by Cassandra – Miss bipolar from over at The Twisted Mind Behind An Artist.  And isn’t edited in any way.

The Illness That Defines You

They say that mood disorders and mental illness, are simply part of you. That they do not define you. Bullshit. If you suffer from a “mood disorder” you and I both know that its not true. Your life becomes about recovery, about figuring out what exactly is your illness. Then after months or years of being observed and observing yourself, you’ve officially googled every medical term for what you believe you may have. Yet, when someone with a Ph.D diagnoses, what you already thought you had…your world crumbles. It becomes OFFICIAL.

From this point on comes what they call, recovery. Getting better, knowing your illness, accepting its deadly grip on your soul and telling yourself, you are NOT your illness..it is simply part of you.

Lets be real. Most of my days are spent figuring out what triggers my “up” and my “downs”. Then the other half is spent trying to avoid everything since I cant figure out which way my mood will go. They teach you strategies to cope; for example if you suffer from panic disorder, they teach you “box breathing”. For anyone who’s every suffered from a panic attack, you know that breathing is NOT something you can seem to get under control. Therefore teaching someone to breath in 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds and then hold for 5 seconds again, will NOT work in a situation where theoretically speaking it should be needed.

Once you’ve figured out what triggers you, then the question becomes how do you handle yourself in the midst of a crisis? Just because someone intelligent wrote books on what he or she believed would help, doesn’t mean they really comprehend the feelings you experience. After all, how can someone who’s never been Bipolar know anything about how I really feel, when I myself can barely understand my own feelings. The fact remains my brain has an “ON” and “OFF” switch, and no matter how many group and one on one therapies I do. Its not something that will change.

Exactly my point, its not something that will change. So they give you 15 pills a day, watch the effects it will have on you, and play around with the dosages. Like a guinea pig you become a test, trial and error; for the millions of medications made for people.. just like you. After finally finding something that doesn’t completely bring you out of whack, they just keep increasing the dosage until they think you’ve become “normal”. Well, as “Normal” as you will ever be. From now on, every day, most likely morning and night, you swallow your poison to sanity. Knowing that the day you stop taking what will eventually kill some part of your insides. Your mind will lose itself once again. This is when , the oblivion starts all over again.

So who ever said, you are NOT your illness, I say, screw you. Because after years of fighting, days of endless struggles, lost friendships and millions of heartaches. I spend every minute of my days, trying to fix what has been chemically engineered in my brain. I would love to say, I am Bipolar, and it doesn’t make me who I am. But the truth is, who I am depends on what part my Bipolar chooses to be. And all I can do, from the back of my mind when it takes over my body, is try so hard to minimize the destruction I will cause in my moments of crisis. Its like narrating a story in your mind with absolutely no control over your body, actions or words. Stuck in a prison, as you watch everything you love or want, fall apart. And then, when you take over the driver seat, you spend your “Sane” days fixing the mess your true self left behind.
Sincerely yours,
Cassandra + Miss Bipolar

[Editor’s Comment:  I would very much like to thank Cassandra for sharing this with us and and allowing us to publish it here on the Guild’s site.  And I would like to encourage members to pop over and visit Cassandra’s site and view her other work.]

16 comments on “The Illness That Defines You – Guest Post by Miss Bipolar.

  1. It’s great that you posted this, Kevin. I would like to print it out and send it to so many people who have not a clue as to what is what with me. They are supposedly friends but don’t really want to know the ins and outs of my illness. Thank you, Miss Bipolar, for telling it like it is. For me it is more how it was. Finally at age 65 I have some idea of how to handle the illness (but not the anxiety attacks yet). In any case, if you are interested I have a blog at stockdalewolfe.com and if you click on Bipolar Disorder you will get several posts. I am also going to write a post today on alternative therapies for Bipolar Disorder. BTW, I am Bipolar 1. Thank you again, for speaking a truth.

    • Hi Ellen,

      It’s a great piece of writing isn’t it? Cassandra expresses herself with such raw honesty and I often think that raw honesty is an essential necessity to bringing about change.

      As I often say to my kids. “Without truth there is no true healing.”

      Kind regards and God bless you

      • Yes, it was a great piece of writing, as, I might add, are all of your posts. I am so glad you are keeping this blog open, Kevin. It is a great service you do, for the mental health community around the globe!! Think of that, Kevin, when you feel not so good about yourself. You created this and it is a wonderful forum!! Love and blessings, Ellen

      • I’m a fine believe that sugar coating things doesn’t make them better and that self expression is the best way to release anger or bad feelings . When I wrote this I was just hospitalized again and so angry that no one understood my pain and just left me to fight alone but it made me a stronger person and a better writer . I know have. Blog and several pieces in private I’m entering in contests.. I find expressing myself helps me find a part of myself back . Thank you for the comment it means a lot to me .
        God bless 🙂

    • Thank you again . I am so glad my writing has helped other feels less one in this . I lost most my friend through this because sadly they don’t understand I don’t choose the decisions I make me constantly fight the urge to make bad ones . I will read your blog tho 😉

  2. Reblogged this on MOONSIDE and commented:
    After many years on different medications, still looking for one that works better, and after finding a wonderfully understanding husband who happens also to be a therapist, and after finding meditation and my guru, Mooji, and his Advaita Vedanta Buddhism, I can say this is no longer how I feel. But it is how I felt for a very long time, much of my life, in fact, and I thank Miss Bipolar for sharing her feelings because they are true for most of us until we can get a handle on our illness. Coming soon, a post on alternative therapies for Bipolar Disorder.

    • Thank you for the feed back .. I had written more pieces on my Tumblr blog .. This is the first piece I wrote when I got hospitalozed for the second time , the frustration that comes with the pain is unbearable but especially the way people come understand is worst . I’m glad you found happiness and meds that work for you .. Best of luck 🙂

      • Don’t give up. It took me a very long time and all is not roses. I struggle daily but differently than when I was young. Getting older has some advantages to look forward to. Blessings of healing, Ellen.
        P.S. Take a look at Stockdalewolfe.com, the book

  3. I think that the severity of the BiPolar can change the way we perceive our illness. We hear of celebrities who say they would not take away their BiPolar if they had the choice as the mania fuels their creativity. But not all of us have those positive experiences with our illness. I can certainly empathize and connect with Cassandra. And the drugs are essentially hit and miss. Some people taking many years to get the meds that will alleviate some, if not all, of the symptoms. A journey into the mental health sector can be like a rollercoaster ride.

    • Hi Glenn,

      Many thanks for taking time to comment and also for what you have shared.

      I can certainly relate to and agree with you when you say that “A journey into the mental health sector can be like a rollercoaster ride.

      Kind regards and God bless you.

  4. Reblogged this on Marci, Mental Health, & More and commented:
    While I think the topic of neurodiversity and not being defined by your disorders is important. It really does effect your day to day living and this post beautifully illustrates that point.

  5. really very interesting

  6. Brava, Cassandra!! Excellent job of getting across how it was, how it is and how it may continue to be for those of us with bipolar. I go back and forth on using the term “bipolar” to describe myself. I used to say basically, “I am bipolar.” I felt that way, as you have written, because when it got out of control — poor thing, I guess it was tired of not being recognized so it threw a tantrum, made me have a breakdown and has not left me alone the past 22 years — it took over every aspect of my life and I had no clue as to what was happening to me. As I’ve grown older and watched this “disorder” morph on me many times, and as I’ve gone through so much in my life that I may or may not have gone through if this alien thing hadn’t burst out of my mind I realize that part of who I am is indeed bipolar. Yet part of who I am is not bipolar. Inside, many times locked away as you describe, is me. The real me, not the bipolar me. I still have a fantastic sense of humor and love to laugh. I still have certain dreams that intellectually I know are pipe-dreams, but the romantic and hopeful part of me which has dwindled over the years still believes, “One day . . . maybe . . . hopefully . . . ” On the extremely rare occasions when I’m feeling so good a part of me way in the back thinks for just a second this illness has left, my old self comes forward and takes back control. All this does is just reinforce the romantic/hopeful piece of me that just won’t quit thinking, “One day . . . ” Soon that part of me is dashed as the bipolar me takes over again, grabs my real self by the neck and flings me back to the back of my being and does various things to make sure I cannot take control for a long time. Sometimes it buries me beneath piles of the crap that has become my life. Sometimes it buries me by choking me so hard I have no voice. Sometimes it completely knocks me out and I a stranger, a not nice at all stranger who is the only one the world can see and thinks this is who I am. I don’t like it. At times I hate it. At times I’m grateful for it because it is a part of who I am and therefore who I’ve become in good ways as I’ve also grown spiritually. Sometimes I want to scream and pull my hair out. Sometimes I want to curl up in the fetal position and die. All this has been an incredibly long-winded attempt to say thank you for posting this and sharing this!! God bless you and may you always be able to write it all out and thereby help others as well as yourself!! 🙂

  7. It turns out your right about the illness defining you. I recently wrote an article on identity schemas after reading about them on Psychology Today. The short definition is that schemas are the identity themes we build up over time in our lives. We are these collection of schemas, they are our identity. Different schemas are for example; compassion, confidence etc etc. Problem is when we throw a mental illness in the mix it creates schemas that are harmful to us but are as real as “normal” schemas. I put it slightly better over at my bipolar blog http://latestbipolarnews.info/who-am-i-bipolar-identity/

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