We Need to Talk About Bipolar Disorder So That You Don’t Do It Behind My Back

We Need to Talk About Bipolar Disorder So That You Don’t Do It Behind My Back


I remember taking an anatomy and physiology exam when I was a Sophomore in college.

I had taken a year off from nursing to get my political science minor so I entered nursing school with a group of 45 strangers, none of which particularly wanted to spend any time with me. Surprisingly, the day before, I actually got an invitation to study with some girls from class.

Looking back, I should have said no.

I was sipping on weak coffee with way too much sugar when I heard a girl’s voice dig a hole a self loathing for me that I would spend years trying to climb my way out of.

“I had a hard time remembering what a bipolar neuron was,” I heard her say. “Since the bipolar neuron is responsible for photoreceptors in the eye, I just think of someone who is bipolar, and how I never want to see them, because they’re usually an absolute mess.”

All of the girls laughed and I almost dropped my coffee cup…or smashed it over her head. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, and I wanted to be anywhere but that poorly lit cafeteria with a girl who didn’t seem to care about one of our country’s most marginalized and generalized people. Despite my better judgment, I slammed my cup on the table, gathered my things, and bailed. I left, ran into a bathroom, and cried my eyes out.

  1. When were you diagnosed? Just before I turned 19 years old.
  2. How many people are bipolar? About 3% of the American population.
  3. Did you have any idea that you were bipolar? No. I just thought I was moody.
  4. Isn’t it just an excuse to treat people badly? No.
  5. It must be nice to have meds you can take to calm you down. The rest of us have to stress. Not how it works at all, but whatever.
  6. Has bipolar been the reason for any break ups? Yes. It happens.
  7. What does bipolar II mean? It means that I’m more depressed than I am manic. I do have episodes of mania, but not as severe as those with type I.
  8. What has the disease taught you so far? People leave when things get hard.
  9. You look tired. Yeah. I am most of the time.
  10. Are you scared that if you have kids, they’ll be bipolar? Yeah. It terrifies me.
  11. A lot of patients are addicts. Have you ever been? Yes.
  12. How does it feel to be a manic pixie dream girl? I wouldn’t know. I will not be fodder for some sad young writer’s work. Don’t reduce me to a stereotype.
  13. Do you feel alone? All the time. You go through a type of emotional turmoil that’s hard to communicate and hard to find in others.
  14. Are you sure you’re not doing this for attention? 100% positive.
  15. You lost weight! Thanks! Lamictal makes me not want to eat!
  16. I wish you’d stop talking about it so much. I wish you’d stop talking about The Bachelor, but I don’t want to be rude about it.
  17. What’s gotten worse over the years? My sensitivity. My self esteem. My jealousy.
  18. What’s gotten better over the years? My understanding of emotion. My empathy. My sense of justice.
  19. What’s your biggest regret? Not getting ride of my non supportive friends sooner.
  20. You don’t seem sick. It’s mostly because I hide it exceptionally well. It tends to make people uncomfortable.
  21. What does it feel like to swing? It feels like the world has gone suddenly dark, and that everything good has disappeared.
  22. It’s not that big of a deal. I almost died from overdosing on pills because of it, so I’d say it’s a big deal.
  23. Do you have any funny mania stories? Always.