I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety at 16.
And ever since I was, almost everyone in my life started treating me like I could break at any time, like anything they said could change me. Last week I went to see a doctor and she screamed at me – told me that she can’t examine me if I’m this emotional and I tried to tell her that I wasn’t emotional until she told me that, but she wouldn’t listen. What used to be laughing at my weird behavior turned into asking if I’ve been taking my medication. My parents are scared, they blame themselves for the way I feel and sometimes I think that no one should have to deal with this, especially them.
Before I was officially diagnosed I missed school. A lot. Now I have individual lessons, and even then I get treated in a strange way. Sometimes my teachers act as if I could break by anything and respect that some things can be harder for me, but sometimes they simply don’t care and get mad at me for not being the bright, happy, motivated person I usually am.
One of the first things everyone says to me when they meet me and get to know me is that I’m “so soft and fragile”. And I think, I’m not – I’m angry sometimes, to the point where it’s scary and I’ve been through some tough stuff, just because I can be emotional and cry easily doesn’t mean you should worry about every single thing you say or do around me – there are worse things someone could do to me and what’s the point of talking if you have to censor everything you say? I’ve always been the person you know, now I’m a person diagnosed with a mental illness, but it doesn’t change me – I still think the same, my opinions are basically the same and my reactions are the same.
If you know something can actually trigger me, then of course, don’t say it but if you’re doing it because I’m “so soft and fragile”, then please, just let yourself be honest.
My medication doesn’t change me. It doesn’t make me, personally, feel numb and it doesn’t completely make my illness disappear either. People who knew me before think that what I did or said while having an episode isn’t valid, but that isn’t true. Some things I’ve done may have been more intense but my confessions and my thoughts still matter just as much as they usually do.
There are things people in my life are still trying to understand and get used to – even though technically I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember, but now it has a name to it. I try to tell people that I’m not my normal self, that I sometimes wake up and can’t remember how to talk the way I usually do, can’t remember how to act like I usually do without sounding “insane”. Sometimes nothing feels real. Sometimes everything’s too bright. Sometimes I can’t even think about eating or look at myself without obsessing over how I look in someone else’s eyes. Sometimes I have to change what I’m wearing just because I’m scared everyone will see the old, overweight version of me. I still try to admit to myself and to others that I can’t do something because it makes me feel bad or triggers me without being embarrassed.
The first thing I think about when I start a friendship with someone is “are they going to leave me when my brain fucks up?” And I try to tell myself that if they do, it wasn’t worth it.