Bipolar has been a struggle for me from a young age.
I’ve only just recently started writing about it because there’s not enough stuff out there where people talk about it constructively. It’s just like this empty patch of land.
People with depression fight their battles everyday and therefore cannot talk about it constructively- as we are unable to. People without depression don’t know what it’s like to be so overwhelmed with options on getting yourself back on track.
It sometimes just feels like everyone is sinking and there’s nothing anyone can do.
The reason why I’m talking about it now is because I’m really fucking dedicated to getting this off my back, and I am so fucking tired of people not talking about it.
People are afraid to be open and honest. People are afraid when other people are open and honest.
It intimidates them.
You speak honestly about something and someone buried under 7 layers of self doubt goes “oooh yikes!!” and then the conversation is closed up again.
Meanwhile, people are committing suicide and losing their lives because a mental illness was laughed off one too many times.
This needs to be spoken about, and I’m gonna fucking speak about it.
I’ve been aware of my bipolar since I was about 11 or 12, and every time someone has suggested I go on medication I’ve just shut them down and argued with them and pushed them away.
To me, it felt like people were ignoring my feasible reasons for being annoyed and just writing me off as ‘mental’ so nobody had to put the effort in to parent me or take care of me. In turn that made me even more angry.
Making the decision to try antidepressants is a big one because mental health is subtle. If you’ve suffered with it your whole life, you’re constantly wondering. ‘do I qualify? am I really that bad? Would it make a difference? Is this not just who I am?’.
I didn’t know that happiness/ a state of calm was something you allow as opposed to something that you fight for.
How is one supposed to know what normal is when we only have one brain and one body?
I’ve always hated the idea of being sedated, I’ve always hated the idea of the government just flinging me some numbing pills and going ‘that’ll fix it. No quality of life but hey at least you’re not actively trying to die’.
Tim Ferrriss is somebody that I have been made aware of- and quite honestly, he’s the influence behind me changing my mind on medication.
He’s an entrepreneur, author, ‘human guinea pig’ as he has branded himself. He’s recently opened up about his fight with bipolar, but uniquely; he’s opened up about how he actually began to manage it.
Medication was involved, but he went to the GP consciously, and he made a plan so that he wouldn’t become reliant.
Now that I had somebody that I respect and ‘admire’ open up about it in a straightforward way that wasn’t romanticised or put into art, I could understand.
My Dad said something to me about medication. He said “You can’t move forward if you’re trying to drive a car with the brakes on”.
What he meant was- I may be working, I may be making money, I may be meditating and trying to read and trying to exercise, but I will never maintain happiness or motivation if my emotions aren’t in check.
And that is brain chemistry.
We have the reptilian brain; which is all about survival. The brainstem and the cerebellum takes care of our heart rate, lung capacity, etc.
We have the neocortex (consisting of two large cerebral hemispheres). This is our thinking brain. This is where our logic comes from.
We have the limbic system (the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus). These control our emotions. It’s animalistic, it’s not tangible, it’s reactive.
To be happy and successful, all three of these need to be in check.
And for as long as you logically try to plan out your happiness, you aren’t happy.
If you try to operate with the reptilian brain and thinking brain while your emotions aren’t in check, it’s like trying to drive a car with the brakes on. You need to balance your chemistry, and it doesn’t make you weak. It will get you to where you need to go-so long as you have a plan.
I know full well why I am sad. I know that I have wounds from childhood, where I live isn’t great, my job is not making me the happiest person in the world. These things are all in my thinking brain. I cannot heal these things in my thinking brain when thinking about these things makes my emotional brain shut down.
You can change the situation, and if you can’t change the situation, you’ve got to change the way you feel about the situation. When you change the way you feel about it, you can change it.
With depression, the emotional/thinking brain can’t converse, because the emotional brain just feels too helpless.
That’s why we know that we’ll be better off going for a walk, or getting out of bed, or showering; but our brain won’t let us. It’s the emotional brain.
So here’s the plan;
- Find out about medication. Which are good, which are shit, which are numbing.
- Go to the GP and construct a plan.
- Take antidepressants while I am sorting my life out (i.e. experimenting with my lifestyle, getting into routine, changing my lifestyle, motivating myself and reshaping my life)
- Gradually come off antidepressants when my life is manageable and I am moving forwards, without the brakes on.
I am scared, but I will update when the time is right.
We need to talk constructively.