I Was Born With Bipolar Disorder
I was born with bipolar disorder. The second I entered the world, I was already flawed. Somewhere inside my biology was a genetic mistake – a predisposition toward developing bipolar disorder, which made me different from the majority of other babies born on that day. Not all mistakes define a person, however. I make mistakes while driving all the time and it hasn’t led to a single defining moment.
But this is different. This altered clump of biology has colored the outlook of my life since before I knew I was seeing the world in a different hue. As we all know, I do have bipolar disorder. It has caused me more pain that I care to convey in a blog. It tortured me and, to a lesser extent, those around me. It robbed me of hope, opportunity, and, at its worst, it almost cost me my life.
Fighting Back is Not a Symptom of Bipolar Disorder
For all of the mistakes in my chemistry, there is a resolve that is inexplicable. Fighting back is not a symptom of bipolar disorder. Hearing that you have a chronic and life-long illness and sinking into a deep, inescapable depression is more of a common course. I did fight back and I fought back hard.
Make no mistake; I sank. I sank to the lowest pits I could find and began searching for ways to sink lower. The monumental task of overcoming my mind seemed, and frankly still seems, impossible. (I had help; someone told me sad stories don’t pay bills.) The amount of time, energy, and suffering it took to overcome spanned many birthdays. The number of birthdays I wasted while hoping for death before diagnosis spans decades.
On the day of my 38th birthday, I look back at all my other birthdays and wonder what the world would have been like if I had lost my battle with bipolar disorder. Then, I sit back and smile, secure in the knowledge that I can celebrate the success of winning. I am proud of my efforts, my accomplishments, and myself.
I believe I can continue to win my battle with severe mental illness. But, just in case, I wish for another year of recovery every time I blow out my birthday candles. Then I smile as I watch my fears go up in smoke.
By: Gabe Howard
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