Kicking Bipolar’s Ass

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“She is bipolar.”

I cringe every time I hear these words, or see them typed out in print or online somewhere like I did today. You would never hear, “She is cancer.” Instead, after someone is cured of cancer you hear, “She BEAT cancer.”

That is so wonderful. I cheer along with everyone else when I read of someone’s victorious fight with the devil that is cancer. If you think about it, mental illness should be looked at the same way. I don’t want to be known as the woman who is bipolar and is married with two kids.

I didn’t ask for this condition, this heartbreaking, terrifying, complicated illness, to hit me at the age of twenty-six when I was newly married and at the peak of my recruiting career.

And I am not my illness.

I am so much more than this condition I live with and manage each and every day.

I am a wife. A mother. A daughter. A sister. A granddaughter. A niece. A cousin. An aunt. A friend. An employee. A room mom. A church member.  A Sunday school teacher. A writer. A reader. A bubble bath-taker. A coffee lover. A vegetarian. A chocoholic. A fan of music. A dancer. A car singer.

You know, the type that knows every word to every song and loves to sing no matter how bad of a singer she is. Yeah. That’s me.

I am the sum of all these beautiful, wonderful things.

I am NOT Bipolar.

I may have bipolar disorder, but it does not define me. I am defined by the people I surround myself with, the people who I love and who also love me for who I am. The ways I spend my time help to mold me into the person I am becoming.

And I’m pretty happy with her. Most of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of growing and learning to do. But I do think that I can be proud of how far I’ve come.

I turned 34 last month. I recently commented to my best friends how it seems like a third of our lives is gone already. They both reminded me that we’d have to live to 102 for that to be the case. Hey, it’s possible. But I guess they’re right. More than a third is done. Lived. In the books. {or, on the blog.}

Sometimes I wonder where all that time went.

I’m not sure, but I do know that I want to be able to say, for the rest of whatever time I have left, that I beat bipolar disorder. That I was an inspiration to others still fighting. And that I did my best.

I think I’m doing a decent job so far.

Comments

  1. What a great way to look at things because I never even thought about how when it comes to bipolar it seems to be the only illness I can think of that is said that way – ‘she IS bipolar’. Everything else is ‘she HAS so and so’. How strange and defining.
    Good luck with kicking its butt :)

    • Yes, very strange and unfairly defining. Thanks, Jess.

      • Katy Jenkins says:

        i’m 50 and hope you can answer my question. My first diagnosis was at age 28. I’m a very visual learner and am wondering if there’s somewhere I can see some brain-activity scans of before and after meds; and one scan of a person taking bi-polar meds who drinks about 12 drinks per week. Yes, the drinker is me. My excuse for drinking is “it’s all around me….everywhere I go daily!”

  2. Love this post. Your mental illness does not define who you are. I just saw a segment on our local news about a mom who is bipolar and is thriving. So glad to see someone talking openly. The segment was so positive and inspiring. It makes me hopeful that the tide is turning. Hugs.

  3. Linda Killi says:

    Yes you are doing a great job of beating this illness and I’m so proud of you!

    ________________________________

  4. …..wow…. i’ve never looked at it that way……..

  5. I love to read your blog and your take on this experience. You are correct, bipolar does not define you! When speaking of my son and his bipolar and other issues, I often say that he has a mental illness, the mental illness does NOT have him. Keep looking forward and putting one foot in front of the other. I personally thank you for sharing your truth

    • You are so right – the mental illness does NOT have your son, it is just something he has to fight. We all have our own battles in life, what we need to work hard to overcome. You are doing a tremendous job of supporting him. I don’t know how hard that is, but I would bet it is almost as hard as fighting the illness if you had it yourself. Keep on keeping on. He’ll get through it with your love and support.

  6. You seem to have such a positive attitude & I really love this post & the reminder that mental illness does not define anyone. Really inspiring & refreshing post :)

  7. Judy fryer says:

    You are definitely an inspiration to me! I love your fighting, go for it spirit.Whenever you can be honest and speak out about Bipolar Disorder, remember it is helping someone, somewhere to understand it just a little bit more. It is a vert tricky illness to get a handle on and we all need all the help we can get. Shoulder to shoulder we will definitely kick ‘its’ ass and in doing so,strengthen ourselves and each other. Keep kickin girl!

  8. Amazing, I could have written this exact post myself. I literally agree with every word. Love it!

  9. “I am the sum of all these beautiful, wonderful things…I am NOT Bipolar!” What a great perspective to have and an encouragement to all. We can take out bipolar and fill in the blank with whatever label(s) we struggle with. “I am NOT——-!”

    Great post.

  10. Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. Terri Cheney says:

    Thanks for your comment on my Psychology Today blog. You make an excellent case for the opposite position. One reader noted that we commonly say, I am anemic or I am diabetic. Doesn’t seem to have the same sting though, does it?

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    • bipolarmomlife says:

      Thank you so much for reading this post, Terri! Means a lot to me. And yes, I’ll keep on fighting and writing.

  12. i just saw a public service ad on TV addressing bi-polar illness. it’s so great to see that finally the message is getting through. people with mental illness should be treated and regarded the same way that any other person with a disease is treated.

    Keep up the good work and congratulations for having the courage to take a stand.

  13. Thank you for this! Separating ourselves from our illness can nearly overwhelming. We are so much more than bipolar and while I still struggle with the diagnosis I know it doesn’t have to define my life.

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  15. Good point!!!! with bi polar, everybody always says “she’s bipolar” grrr… I love hearing she is a warrior over bipolar or beat it. This blog was increasingly interesting and very inspirational. Thanks so much for being who you are and sharing your original thoughts.

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  17. You said it perfectly! “She’s so bipolar” I hear it and I wanna scream. I have bipolar disorder…I am not so bipolar. Thank you for speaking words of such truth! I wanna kick this illness’s ass too!

  18. Struggling spouse says:

    What I am so impressed with is your self awareness. Unfortunately, my wife is refusing to deal with her bipolar illness and believes she has been healed by God. Her behaviors suggest otherwise. It has resulted in me removing my kids from the home to protect them. She still refuses treatment despite having 3 prior hospital stays as well as a recent psychiatric evaluation confirming her bipolar disorder I. Any advice on how to get her to seek help? It is ruining our family and she is damaging relationships with friends and other family members.

  19. i tHAT IS THE MOST AMAZING THING i HAVE EVER HEARD yoU ARE RIGHT. i AM NOT bIPOLAR. iT IS SOMETHING i AM LEARNING TO LIVE WITH EVEN THOUGH i AM HAVING A VERY DIFFICULT TIME RIGHT NOW. yOU HAVE GIVEN ME SOME HOPE. aND I THANK YOU FOR THAT.

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  1. […] Kicking bipolar’s ass by Jennifer. […]

  2. […] really long time because it’s a quarter of your total life. Days and weeks seem long. But as we get older, as in forty years old, a year is only 2.5% of our life so it rushes by faster than a year at the […]

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