10th Feature Story: The Medicine Cabinet by “Bacon”

medicine beckI 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

About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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