WORLD BIPOLAR DAY
I had my first bipolar breakdown in the classroom where I was teaching in College Park, Maryland. I knew something was wrong, when I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs in the classroom again. I saw the tiny faces of my students staring back at me, full of bewilderment, and I was crushed. I’d done it again. I decided to change the subject and get myself together. We started discussing with their parents did for a living. That calmed me down. “I can do this”, I thought. One girl said her father was a psychiatrist, and I almost leapt over the desks. I ran to her and asked for his business card. I made up an excuse and I knew she didn’t believe me. Yet I continued with the discussion. I called him the next day for an emergency appointment. This was the beginning of my work with the doctor. I was his patient until 3 months ago.
When I made the appointment, he initially diagnosed me with ADHD and anxiety. That is how my symptoms presented to him. About six months later, I was diagnosed with bipolar 1. I’d had a manic episode. I’d mowed my lawn six different times in one day and I’d stayed up for a few days in a row. I remember my next-door neighbor asked me why I was mowing my lawn so often, and if I wanted to let my lawn grow back before I mowed it again. I felt sad and ashamed that she could see that I was so sick. She also asked me about my tattoos. I was relieved that she didn’t ask me about my cutting scars. I hid a lot back then. I wasn’t open like I am now. For me, living with bipolar means taking my medicine, going to the doctors, going to bed early, eating healthy, walking and a host of other self-care items. I must take care of myself if I want to stay healthy. Sometimes I have episodes and breakdowns but in general, I am much better than I have been in the past thankfully. I am grateful for that.