"We can choose to wallow and stay in our own blank mindset of mediocracy or we can pull ourselves up out of our tide of emotional turbulence and face the pain and road blocks of frustrations to see the reward of amazing self determination while inner battling resilience focusing on our intrinsic HOPE for change."
Steven M Gordon PMHCNS/NP-BC
Living with Bipolar Disorder: My Experience in Recovery written by a patient of Steven M. Gordon
"I’ma talk about some sh*t.
Hey guys, I’m bipolar. Sup. I found out a few years back when I had what is referred to as a “manic episode.” Manic episodes take on many forms, but my particular form of mania resulted in abstract, almost hallucinatory, delusions. Examples! I thought I was going to be cast on Game of Thrones. I thought the Russians were causing acid rain as a first strike in a biological war. I thought my twin brother was adopted. I thought I was adopted. I thought my older brother was a mystery bastard child like f***ing Jon Snow. I thought I was a prince of America. I thought my older brother was destined to be king of America. I thought Barack Obama was descended from Ragnar Lothbrok AND I thought The President of the United States himself prescribed me my medications. From the moment I met my psychiatrist until the meds kicked in, I thought he was a secret older brother that I never knew I had. He had a copy of The 7 Chinese Brothers in his office, you see. He was clearly the eldest brother. My older brother was the second eldest, I was the second youngest, and I had to find the rest. I thought I was indestructible. I fell harder skateboarding than I ever have in my life. Like, seriously, I’m so lucky that I fell right. I almost died. I thought I was on an endless scavenger hunt. Do you want to know what scared me the most? I was blissfully happy through it all. It felt like heaven, being deranged. Then I came out of it.
My therapist tells me that I am still “in recovery” from my manic episode. I get that, because I’m afraid that it will happen again. I feel good these days. Better than I have in a long time, and it’s scary to know that the happiest I’ve ever been led to the craziest I’ve ever been. Things were good back then. Things feel pretty ok these days and, for the most part, I am positive and happy. I feel as though I have fought my medications into submission and can feel for myself again. My medicine changed a lot of things. It caused me to sleep more and be lazier all around. It destroyed my motivation. I stopped working out. I stopped caring about things. Most things. Here’s the thing, though. It kept me alive. It kept me focused on reality. It kept me away from dangerously low places. Medication saved my life. I’m sure there are centuries old ointments and supplements and goat’s milk and honey with lemon in a 12-herb tea that could cure my f***ing everything, but there’s also these little pills that I take every morning that keep me from thinking strangers are siblings or from being a depressed, self-destructive mess. It’s important to work out, too. That’s been the toughest hurdle. The other day, I did 50 burpees. Physically, I feel good. That’s important because, before I gained weight in the past year, I lost weight. A lot of weight. I was a 28-year-old man with an eating disorder. Then we balanced out my meds and I started eating again. I’ve been through a few relatively deep bouts with depression, but I have come out the other end with the love and support of my family, my friends and the help of my doctor. I’ve lost and walked away from jobs in direct correlation with my mood disorder. It has been painful. It has been hard to handle.
I feel very intensely. Happiness is felt as exulting, blissful joy. Sadness is felt as gut-wrenching, world-ending depression. It’s tough, but, hey, it’s not something I get to walk away from. It is a part of who I am and the challenge now is to comprehend and control these extremes of emotion, while they are regulated by medication and I am assisted by my therapist. Why am I telling you this? I think the conversation about mental health is already becoming more prevalent and more people want to understand. I think more people are realizing that some of us need help. The world is losing more and more people to suicide and addiction, and an unfortunate amount of those losses are in direct correlation with a mental disorder. From early on in my treatment, I started to be open and honest with people about my mood disorders and medication. I’ve had some of the most meaningfully intense conversations with people who are struggling with their own mental health through many different means, but one thing remains the same in these interactions: there is a wave of relief when these people realize they can be open and honest with me. They want to talk about it. They want to be reassured that what they’re going through isn’t wrong or taboo. They should not have that fear. They shouldn’t have to be afraid of something that is a part of who they are.
If you took the time to read through this, thanks! I’d like for the world to be more open and understanding of mental health. The world is f***ing crazy these days, and some people are dealing with internal mental battles on top of all the negativity that surrounds us (which is just fantastic for anyone who deals with anxiety). Therapy is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of. Medication can be f***ing necessary and is a challenge in itself (balancing out a cocktail of medicines that works best is a roller coaster of emotions). Healthy eating and frequent activity are important, too. If you ask me how I am, I’d say I’m pretty good. Not fantastic, but I am fine. How are you?"