8 things I wish people would know about my schizoaffective bipolar disorder.
1.I am NOT my illness: for so long I battled with the thought that I would forever be defined by my illness. I wore it like a coat and it completely consumed me. Over time I have come to realize that while I have schizoaffective bipolar disorder, I am not schizoaffective bipolar. It’s true, that there are parts of me that are different and parts of me that give in to the illness, but I am stronger than my brain would have me to believe and one day I won’t allow this illness to rule over my life.
2. I have psychotic symptoms, but that doesn’t make me a psychopath: Seriously, thats a totally different illnesses, and yes psychopathy is a mental illness.
3. My psychotic symptoms don’t make me crazy: Over the past couple of years I have struggled with maintaining a solid grasp on reality. I’ve had visual and audible hallucinations. I’ve been absorbed by the sun in my moms driveway, and I truly thought I was going to fix the nations justice system, all while being able to speak telepathically with my cat that I believed was going to kill me. I know, that sounds absolutely nuts, and believe me, it was absolutely nuts, but I’M NOT absolutely nuts. Having these delusions, hallucinations, and thoughts are completely involuntary and while they aren’t real to those around me it is incredibly real to me, but you know what, those delusions and hallucinations pass and once they do I am completely able to think and act rationally just as well as every other person on the planet.
4. Having bi-polar disorder is more than having mood swings: This one is huge so I’m going to stick with the bold print. BIPOLAR DISORDER IS MORE THAN A MOOD SWING. The best that I can explain my experience with bipolar disorder is like this. One day I can wake up and I feel incredible, but not just incredible, euphoric. Nothing bothers me, I’m unbelievably happy and motivated and I’m incredibly social. Spending money is absolutely no problem and I don’t believe that my actions will have any real consequence. So I feel this way for a few weeks, maybe even a month, but then I wake up one day feeling so low that I seriously don’t want to live anymore and I’m clouded by darkness. I isolate, there’s a lot of self-loathing, and I lose all of my motivation to do anything that involves me getting out of my bed. Having bipolar disorder has caused me to have low self-esteem and low self-worth and has impacted my life as more than “just a mood swing”.
5. I am still a functioning member of society: Just like you I go to work, pay my taxes, and have somewhat of a social life. Truthfully, you wouldn’t even know I was mentally ill unless I told you or you caught me in the midst of psychosis. Mental illness doesn’t have a specific face, and often times it appears very ordinary.
6. My illness is not an excuse, it’s a disorder: If I were to break my leg people would have no problem excusing certain behaviors, so why am I not given the same consideration for my broken brain? Schizoaffective bipolar disorder is a very serious and very legitimate illness with very real and debilitating symptoms. So, if I say no, I can’t leave my house to go out because I’m too paranoid or too depressed, or no, I can’t go to work today because I quite literally can’t force myself out of bed this isn’t an excuse. It’s a symptom of an illness that needs to be taken seriously.
7. I’m not open about my illness because I want sympathy or attention: I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m open about my illness because the stigma surrounding mental illness is alive and real, and it’s surrounded by ignorance. Speaking out about my illness not only educates people, but encourages people going through something similar to speak out about their experience as well.
8. Despite what Tumblr says there’s nothing romantic about mental illness: Seriously, there’s absolutely nothing romantic or enticing about my illness. My depression isn’t something that’s beautiful. In fact, it’s really dark and ugly and produces a lot of worry in those that love me, and my mania isn’t exciting. At times it can be catastrophic and I don’t want to say that I’m hard to love, but there is A LOT to put up with when it comes to me and unless you’re willing to go through hell and back and still love me the same, you’re not the one for me.
I could honestly go on and on and on with this list, but I think that 8 points is sufficient. Mental illness is so prevalent in today’s society and we can all benefit from a little more understanding. Depression and anxiety is something that has been circulating social media for a bit (which is awesome!) but I wish there were more on other illnesses as well, so I’m doing my part in spreading the knowledge!