I get a lot of search hits along these lines-people looking for answers. Possibly the newly diagnosed, scared and worried that they’ll be on drugs for the rest of their lives, and maybe in and out of hospital. Possibly a boyfriend, a wife, a cousin, looking to see if their own private confusion and heartache might stop sometime soon, if there’s any point in hoping, waiting for things to get better.
In a way, there isn’t.
Unlike cancer, or heart disease, there is no end date to bipolar. There is no “remission”, no little breaks from the disease, and no discounts on your mortgage either. You either have it, or you don’t, period.
It will not end until death. You might compensate for it a little better, or you might find a drug, or drugs that work, or therapy might help you, but you will always have this brain sickness. You will always be privy to possibly emptying the bank account because the desire to buy something, anything overrode every other piece of common sense in your body. You might eat everything you can find because it just tastes so good and makes you feel better and you hardly even notice that you went up a dress size in a month. You might launch into a rage so foolhardly and blinding, you’ll tell the people you love to leave before you beat the ever loving crap out of them. You know you mean it.
You might spend days wishing, dreaming about your death, and not even know that this isn’t normal.
This is what you live with. This is why you will never be totally better. You cannot irradiate bipolar, at least, not that anyone has figured. You cannot pump nitroglycerin into it, or transplant your brain for a new, fitter model. You are stuck with it.
I say stuck, but I don’t always give my bipolar the credit it deserves. It gives me perspective. It’s given me a certain “fuck it” attitude which allows me to enjoy my children, and my life in different ways, ways that I know many other parents can’t. My bipolar continually reminds me that we cannot judge people by how they look or act, despite a strong desire to do so. Being bipolar not only makes me see the dark sides, it allows me to watch the sunset again ice covered tree limbs, and know that beauty lies there.
We won’t get “better”, not in the way we think of when we say we’re better from the flu. We will become steady. We will become stable, and sadly in some cases numb. But with the knowledge that one has to take their pills each day so they don’t become psychotic comes the realization that better, and normal, is something unreachable, and possibly even a goal not worth reaching for in the first place.