I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was twenty-two. I was not surprised. It did not seem like a brilliant diagnosis, but there was something different about hearing it out loud. I could look back over my turbulent life and see a reason for my reckless behavior.
There was also now a reason why I felt crazy. I was. The validation felt good. I liked having a name for something that felt so out of control. Ends up it’s not entirely normal to spend $6000 in one afternoon, to drive one-hundred-and-fifteen miles per hour, in a bikini, in rural Kansas, or to get a tattoo on a two a.m. whim, in the middle of doing your laundry. Knowing I was crazy, versus feeling crazy, was oddly comforting, and having a diagnosis meant I could finally have treatment.
Over the next eleven years, my doctors and I experimented with pills, lots of pills, twenty-five pills to be exact: blue pills, yellow pills, pink pills, orange pills, grey pills, and endless different shaped and sized white pills. I have sung the ABC’S of bipolar disorder filling prescriptions from Abilify to Zyprexa, and droves of medications in-between. I keep all the bottles in an old Easter basket under my bathroom sink and once a week I separate them into a purple, rectangular, plastic, weekly, pill divider like the ones senior citizens use, except I am thirty-three. Being bipolar comes with this sort of maintenance. I endearingly refer to them as my crazy pills. Without crazy pills my life had become a whirlwind of wreckage. In the simplest of terms, crazy pills saved my life.
I have belonged to support groups and group therapy throughout the years, and I currently have a rock star psychiatrist. All have been integral parts of learning to live gracefully with bipolar disorder, and with the help of crazy pills, most days I do.
Of course, I still have days when I awaken into the vast darkness of a deep depression, or am consumed with the rage of a mixed episode where a shrill and angry scream is caught in the back of my throat, or a mania sweeps me high into the clouds; but I am learning grace. I am learning to forgive myself for poor decisions I’ve made during episodes, to embrace the fragility and depth of my moods, and to celebrate myself – crazy and all. After all, I reckon it’s part of what make this beautiful world go round.
You can read more about my journey with bipolar disorder at: http://www.crazyorcrazypills.com