Thursday, in the states, was Bi-Polar awareness day. A wonderful thing. We should be aware of it, and as someone with the condition I spent a part of the day shouting “NOTICE ME” or “BE AWARE OF ME.”
I have bi-polar type 2. Only 2% of people with BP have type 2. That means I’m even more special than Stephen Fry, Carrie Fisher and Catherine Zeta Jones, just throwing that one out there. Type 2 is difficult to diagnose because it’s the less fun one. It means my baseline is depression, my normal is low which means when I’m “Manic” I’m actually having what is called a hypomania which isn’t as extreme as your traditional BP, I appear to most people like a bubbly, outgoing, talkative version of Helen, I appear “Normal.” The problem is I’m not, I won’t be sleeping because that’s a waste of time, I’ll be almost hyperactive flitting from one thing to the next, always busy never stopping and not wanting to stop. I’ll have beyond poor decision making skills which leads to incredibly stupid or dangerous situations, I’ll drink, a lot, and spend money that I do not have. Heck on one occasion I purchased myself a car. My heart rate will be faster and I won’t stop talking, what I’m saying really wont make sense, but I’ll be funny and engaging so you won’t really notice. The thing is you won’t notice much of this stuff really because you’ll just assume I’m the normal Helen, the one you’re used to, so I must be doing well and have gotten over that silly depression.
That’s what it was for years. It’s why Type 2 is so difficult to diagnose because we are told we have depression, then we are “well” and sometimes we are, but sometimes we are “hypomanic” and there isn’t much difference and in noticeable behaviour (there is loads if you know what you are looking for) so nobody notices, and then the depression “comes back.” And that is the cycle, from the age of 12 to 25 that was what we though. It’s not until someone suggests that maybe it’s something else when it finally clicks into place and suddenly you’re not a freak anymore.
Anyway you are now aware of me. Except you’re not. You’re aware of a mental illness that I have, but not of me. And that’s why my tweets on thursday were not “be aware I have bipolar” it was “be aware of me.” I am more than my mental illness, I am more than a condition that I have. It does not define me and it shouldn’t be why people notice me or talk to me.
I am more.
I AM more
I am MORE
and together you, me and some other randomers in my life and on the internet are going to figure out what that more is. Currently all I’ve got to add to the more is knitter and tea drinker…..