It’s been a long time since I’ve written here, and while I don’t owe anyone an explanation, you’re going to kind of get one today.
Because if you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know it’s been a rough few
years months. The anemia is kind of in check for now and I finally found a psychiatrist, but things are still kind of a mess. It turns out after years of being told it’s “just” depression, OCD, etc., it’s actually Bipolar 2, an explanation that kind of provided relief.
I was going to keep this to myself and continue to deal with it behind closed doors, but then Prince died. That might not sound related to anything, but stick with me here.
Soon after his death the speculation began as to why — was it drugs? Was he an addict? He was so decent and never in trouble, so how could that be the case? Those have been the headlines, with everyone wanting to know why, — we all crave closure — but also wanting to know something that’s none of our business.
He was an incredibly talented entertainer who shared his gift with the world, but you know what? If he was dealing with addiction or whatever it was, he didn’t have to share that with the world.
He was a legend, but he was human.
I guess I got a bit riled up over this because of my own struggles. While I’m pretty open about everything, this new diagnosis came right about the time of the Prince stuff, and I haven’t told many people.
Now I’m closer to being a hermit crab than to being famous, yet I didn’t want to tell those in my world about this because of how they — coworkers, friends, readers — might react and the general misconceptions.
On one hand, it’s nobody’s business but mine. On the other, I want them to know what I deal with, why I might act that way that I do, and to clear out those misconceptions.
So that’s what I’m doing today.
This is how things are for me.
With Bipolar 2, the stereotypical highs aren’t extreme and driven mostly by anxiety. I do everything I need to do, and more, without all that much effort. I’m extra productive, appearing super focused and driven, which I mostly am. But I’m also obsessing about work, overexercising more than normal, waking up in the middle of the night analyzing everything, and even more rigid with my routines.
In those moments, I feel like I don’t have a choice — it’s what I have to do.
But what I do is never enough.
Then the depression — which never fully left — comes back in the blink of an eye. I’m tired, but wired, mostly driven by numbness and guilt, not seeing the point in much of anything. And while showering might feel like a mountain to climb, I’ll be damned if I don’t keep overexercising, keep working that extra hour, and the thoughts in my head never. slow. down.
I need a distraction. I need to be numb.
It’s a mix of these highs and these lows, sometimes all in one day. And while the medication is taking the edge off a bit, I feel like I’ve lost who I am sometimes. What’s “normal” and what’s Bipolar? I don’t know, and more days than not I’m just trying to keep it together.
And to those on the outside, it usually looks like I am.
Maybe that was the story with Prince. We’ll never know, and we don’t have to. He had a big platform to bring light to issues, but also had no obligation — and frankly neither do I. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t.
Because while I deal with mental health issues, I’m not a diagnosis.
I’m a smart, caring, hard-working woman doing all I possibly can to not let the negative sides of my health rule my life. Yes, I have issues, but everyone does in some way, shape, or form — even if you never see them.
And if you’re one of those people, you certainly don’t have to share your story. But if you do, there are people who understand you’re not broken, who are fighting a similar fight, who care no matter what you’re going through.
It’s hard to remember at times — and even harder to believe — but it’s true.
That’s what I want you to know.