My Life With Bipolar Disorder

  • Published on:  12/31/2018

    This is Daniel, and he has three personalities. One of them is the regular Daniel – the one who is talking to you right now. Another one is depressed Daniel. And the third one is manic Daniel. When combined, these thee personalities make him a patient with bipolar I disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder.

    When people hear these three words, they think of a maniac from horror movies walking around with a machete and murdering everyone he sees. It’s funny, because that’s as far from the reality as it could possibly be. The only person someone with this condition can harm is himself, which is due to the depressive episodes that can last for very long periods and deprive them of any hope.

    He was 14 when he had his first real depressive episode. It started in November, and at first he thought that it was the usual November blues that would pass in no time. Strangely, they didn’t. He felt worse and worse. He was sure that Christmas would fix it all, as it had always been his favorite time of year, but that didn’t help at all. It felt like someone had switched off all the colors in the world and he was instead living in black and white. Nothing gave him joy, nothing gave him pleasure or motivation. At some point it became a struggle not just to go to school, but even to get out of bed in the morning.

    Obviously, his parents became very worried. They pulled him out of bed and took him straight to the doctor, who diagnosed him with clinical depression. That was really very wise of them, because when someone is depressed and you leave them alone, you never know how it might end. The doctor prescribed him some antidepressants. They didn’t work 100%, but they toned down his depression a bit, and that was a huge relief. Daniel finally returned to school, which was a huge step forward, because he was failing everything.

    In April, his depression passed. He hoped that that would finally be it, one strange episode that wouldn’t be repeated. He began to live his normal life again, and was slowly forgetting the horror he’d lived through, when one day his first manic episode started. And this was something really impressive. Everyone experiences mania in a different way. Some start spending money uncontrollably, others party all day long. You don’t even notice how things change. You receive a flow of uncontrollable energy and you try to discharge yourself in any way you can. You feel like a superman who can handle anything. Climb a 40-foot tree? On my way! Tell your school principal or your boss everything you think about them? No problem! Win a million bucks at a casino? I’m feel lucky!

    Daniel didn’t realize something was wrong with him. In his case, he didn’t want to do anything bizarre or dangerous. No, what happened was that he started seeing SIGNS everywhere. Please don’t laugh – it may sound ridiculous, but when you’re manic you don’t see reason. He saw the signs of some global conspiracy that suddenly became clearly visible everywhere he looked. He chatted to his neighbor for example, and he felt that there was something utterly suspicious about him. Then he went to the library, did some research online and realized that his neighbor had been making clear references to some historical conspiracy theories.

    From the outside, it looks really creepy. He drew an enormous chart on the wall of his room with all the connections and ideas he had found, and he wasted time filling notebooks with his theories. If you’ve seen “A Beautiful Mind”, you can imagine what it looks like, even if the main character there has a different illness. When his parents saw him like that, they again took him to the doctor, who that time seemed a lot more worried. Daniel received a new diagnosis, and new pills that were supposed to ease his current state.

    Well, you need time to understand what pills work for you. After he was diagnosed with bipolar, Daniel had already experienced 3 periods of depression and 2 manic attacks. The worst part of it is that you can’t control it. You just take you medicine and pray that this time it will work and you won’t have any more problems, because this thing is kind of cyclic. When you get depression, even if you understand that it’s just an illness and it will one day pass, you can’t get rid of the feeling that everything is hopeless and pointless.

    On the other hand, when you experience mania, you don’t fully realize it. Your mind can’t stop thinking about it – you have a million thoughts at the same time and you desperately try to control them. Now, when his life returns to normal after a manic episode, he starts analyzing his crazy conspiracy investigations. His diagrams and diaries are an endless source of ready-made criminal plots for years and years ahead.

    Now he lives his life not knowing which of the Daniels will be in the spotlight next.

    Music by Epidemic Sound: