How do I know who I am?

delimI was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 17 and had struggled with depression since I was 13.  I can look back on the days where I was very outgoing, was the presidents of a bunch of groups at school, got great grades,  had a wonderful home life, was proud of who I was and the way I looked.  I went on to graduate from college, was a manager of a movie theater, a trainer at Walt Disney World and even was Teacher of the Year in 2003.  This was all during the time I was struggling with bipolar disorder.

Was that the normal me? When was the normal me showing through? I am not sure what is normal and what is mania and what is depressed.  When I have been depressed for a long time, sometimes months at a time where I completely isolate myself, and I come out of that depression, am I hypomanic, manic, or just being myself.

I definitely know when I am manic or have been as when I come out I can see what havoc I have caused and often will have been in the psychiatric ward.

However, there is almost a happy medium that I just can’t find.   What is the normal me?  Will I ever know?  I hope so and soon as I am nearing my 50s and hope that not only the struggles of the ups and downs can end, but I will know who I was and am before I die. I want others who know me to know who I am  and what to put in my obituary. If I were to write my own obituary right now ( I am not suicidal, just making a point), I would have to just say Michelle had bipolar disorder and at a young age when she knew who she was accomplished a lot, but no one knew who she really was before she died, including herself.



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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5 Responses to How do I know who I am?

  1. LydiaA1614 says:

    Wow, Michelle, I can totally relate to everything you say. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and it was traced back to when I was around 8. Then I was diagnosed with bipolar from around age 16 – both of these diagnoses were in my 30’s. I just started finding out “who I am” in my 50’s where I am right now. I constantly talk about it in my blog I can’t tell you how I got here, except that I shed a lot of baggage. I look forward to reading more of your story.

  2. bethanyk says:

    I couldn’t see the real me until I got away from others who were trying to define me for themselves.

  3. Rayven says:

    Hey! I can relate to the question of “who am I?” so much. I was in treatment a couple years ago for an eating disorder and placed on meds for a mood disorder– the doctors believe it to be bipolar II and I believe it to be PMDD and bipolar II– and I have wondered often who the real me is. Is it the giddy, “high” me or the angry and antagonistic version I turn into? I know I am made in God’s image but I still struggle with, which one is the real me? Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m a woman in my mid 20’s and I write a blog on my own about mental illness and how God relates to me personally. I think this was a great post!

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