BEING BIPOLAR

I’m bipolar.

But, don’t worry. You can’t catch it.

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric disorder (also called Manic Depressive Disorder), that causes my moods to swing between really high and really low, to a degree that interferes with my daily functioning and quality of life.

You might be thinking, “But everyone has their ups and downs.” For you, a high mood might entail a lot of laughter at a party, island hopping while on a vacation,  or even the rush of winning at the slot machines.

My high is manic. It is actually like being high and can feel quite wonderful. Euphoric even. It includes the aforementioned ups, but it goes way beyond that to obsessive-compulsive behaviors – like racing thoughts, the inability to stop thinking or to control the images in my mind, and irresponsibly impulsive spending, promiscuity, rapid rambling speech, little to no sleep, and illusions of grandeur.

Having bipolar disorder feels kind of like surfing. When I’m in a manic state it is fast, wild, and an adrenaline rush. But not something that can be sustained or controlled.


What you consider to be a down or depressed period might entail feeling disinterested, moody, quiet, annoyed, or sad and teary.

But my depression lasts from several weeks to several months and involves isolation, self-neglect, and suicidal thoughts. As low as I have ever been, I have gone lower. I’ve learned that suicidal people don’t want to die; we just want our pain to stop. We just run out of steam . . . and hope.

The crash of depression.

The most difficult thing about being bipolar?

The loneliness. My racing, tormented mind. Being dismissed. Not having someone in my life that is brave or patient enough to love me.

Bipolars require medication. Usually an anti-depressant coupled with a mood stabilizer. But other drugs work too. And the right one can change your life. I’ve had some bad reactions and side effects and have been unmedicated for quite some time. So my time between the surfing and the crashing consists of a constant struggle just to function and “stay even”. It means endless and exhausting paddling.

This disorder often manifests in destructive or violent behavior. The social stigma of bipolar violence stems primarily from the behaviors of those untreated and unmedicated. Just as with any disease, there are degrees of affliction and degrees of management.

Between my mania and depression lives an aggravated state that I call, “EXTREMELY ANNOYED”. I wrestle with it everyday. It can be brought on by many things; loud sounds, harsh smells, bright or flashing lights, pushy or bossy personalities, unexpected circumstances or disruptions, or even minor pain. Sometimes I just awaken annoyed with myself. Honestly.

When I’m triggered, it feels like an intense frustration that begins to build and build. If I do nothing, it will escalate, until it finally explodes into a loud exchange or outburst.

But I don’t do nothing.

I’ve learned that when my brain REACTS, I need to RECOGNIZE my prickly feelings, and RESPOND. I can’t control what people around me say or do. I can only control the way I respond to them. So I’ve learned a few tricks to navigating these bipolar waters; like breathing, visualization, distancing myself from someone, or if necessary, removing myself from an environment or situtation.

So, why haven’t I talked about my bipolar disorder before this?  

Because talking comes at a cost. I’ve been prejudged, discounted, and dismissed.

I’ve been embarrassed because of the social stigma and ridicule; like when I hear someone say, “She went bipolar on me.”

Admitting it, has cost me a date or two and a few friendships. People are scared by what they don’t understand.

And because people don’t understand what they can’t see and sometimes say stupid things; like I look so normal that I must be mistaken. I guess I don’t act crazy enough. Ha ha. And if they should get a glimpse? They run. Fast and far.

And why am I talking about it NOW?

Because in the U.S., six million people have it. And 1 out of every 5 bipolars will successfully commit suicide.

Because people who have it hide and suffer silently.

Because there is hope. Although there is no cure, the right medication and treatment can help us function better in our lives, and most importantly, prevent self-injury and suicide.

And because at this age, I just own who I am. It is what it is. But being bipolar isn’t who I am; it’s what I have. I am a fairly intelligent person who is not only funny, but also kind and compassionate. I’m a woman, writer, and a good friend, who happens to have bipolar disorder.

There are many celebrities and incredibly artistic people who have come out as bipolars.

“Creativity is closely associated with bipolar disorder. This condition is unique. Many famous historical figures and artists have had this. Yet they have led a full life and contributed so much to the society and world at large. See, you have a gift. People with bipolar disorder are very very sensitive. Much more than ordinary people. They are able to experience emotions in a very deep and intense way. It gives them a very different perspective of the world. It is not that they lose touch with reality. But the feelings of extreme intensity are manifested in creative things. They pour their emotions into either writing or whatever field they have chosen.” Preeti Shenoy, Life is What You Make It

 

This is the face of bipolar.

    ME SMILING

Me, Julia Kovach.

And here are a few of my famous friends who also suffer with bipolar disorder.*

*Information gathered from Google states that all of the above individuals were diagnosed, are self-confessing, or are believed to have suffered from bipolar disorder before it was medically recognized.  **All images from Google. Copyrights to their rightful owners.

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Categories: Addiction, Bipolar/Depression, Inspiration/Motivation, Mental Health, Suicide | Tags: , , , , , , | 91 Comments

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91 thoughts on “BEING BIPOLAR

  1. Well done, my friend!
    :-*

    • Thanks, Patti. I know it’s long. You wouldn’t believe how much I edited and edited……Thanks for reading and being such a wonderful friend. Love you, girlie. xoxoJulia

  2. Lynn Gardner

    Julia you explain it so well, you make it easy to understand though nothing is easy with what you go through. Bless you, xoxo

    • Thank you so much, Lynn, for just taking the time to read this stuff. I hope you know how much it means to me. Your friendship has truly been one of my very special lifelines. xoxoJulia

  3. That is very courageous, Julia. I would like to tell you that I have a friend, Joy Ayscue, who is cured of her bi-polarism and did so with Reiki. It took a few months, but she did it and she is so very happy today. You can befriend her on Facebook through my friends if you want and I know she will talk to you gladly about it. She’s a wonderful woman. And just another thing… if you ever want to try it… I am a Reiki practitioner… We can talk anytime. And… I still have your painting!!! Peace, love and light to you, Julia, my sweet friend…

    • Thank you so much, Nicole. Your thoughtfulness and generousity mean a lot to me. I’m not so sure about the Reiki (or what it is), but we’ll have to talk about it sometime. Thank you for your support, girl! It means so much. And I can’t wait to get my painting! lol Talk to you soon! xoxoJulia

  4. Gina Wilson

    Julia, you are amazing! You are so right this does not define you or who you are, IT IS NOT YOU! It is a challenge that you are forced to confront and deal with each day. Thank you for your strength and honesty it serves to strengthen those that suffer from “invisible illnesses” that bring with it the stigma that society has placed upon them, the armchair doctors, the skeptics, and those who are wholly uneducated regarding an issue but still insist on voicing their opinions. You are a brave soul and you possess a profound inner strength. Thank you for stepping out and speaking the truth. xoxoxoxoxo

    Life has taught me the wisdom of moving toward what scares me. – Pema Chodron

    • Oh, Gina…..thank you. And I love you, girlfriend. Your words gave me a chill….and touched my heart. I don’t know if I’m actually brave though, cuz don’t you have to be frightened and forge ahead anyways? lol I’m not scared anymore, so I don’t think it’s really so brave…..but thank you. I think I used up all my “frightened” when I was popping prescription meds and feeling like a fraud in this world. Now, it’s just me…clear new eyes and a crazy ‘ole brain…lol….and I’m pretty good with that. I ADORE the quote you left here. I was just telling someone, “You know that feeling when you’re about to do something that scares you a little? Like when you’re trying something new and maybe alone while trying it (like an art show…or a class)? I’m learning to embrace it and identify it as excitement, rather than fear.” It’s something new everyday! Your friendship is such a gift. Maybe towards the end of next week we can meet for lunch or coffee, ‘eh? Love and blessings to you, my dear new friend. xoxoJulia

  5. I am proud to count you among my friends. This is great writing and a great explanation.

    • Thank you, Kim. Your comments mean a lot to me, as I value not only our friendship, but your opinion as a reader. Your words warm my heart. I really looking forward to getting together again soon, my friend. Please be well. xoxoJulia

  6. Betsy Aiello

    Applause to you, Julia. I am proud and happy to count you as a friend. Distance may be a problem to face to face time, but, there’s always phone, computer, telepathic communication…..you don’t scare me, girlfriend!!!!! I know you’ll keep fighting the fight, and living day to day, minute to minute sometimes–because YOU CAN!!!!

    • Thanks, Bets! You’re just great! I’m smiling as I read your words….so thank you for that. I love that I don’t scare you! ha ha! I just adore you for saying that! lol Thank you for reading and being such a pal. Love to you. xoxoJulia

  7. Le Clown

    Julia,
    What a great post to raise awareness and help destigmatize the taboo around bipolar disorder and mental health. Thank you.
    Le Clown

    • Dear Le Clown, I feel honored to see you on my page, dude. Thanks so much. And thanks for your kind words and smiling face! lol Blessings to you my new and unusual friend. I’m looking forward to reading you more in the future! lol Be well. xoxoJulia

  8. Thanks for sharing, Julia. This is worth passing on, the more we understand, the better it is for everyone.

    • That’s so true, Patti! Once we bring these types of things out into the light – they lose a lot of their power over us. Ignorance doesn’t like the sunshine! Thanks so much for reading and leaving me a note….it is a kind gift. xoxoJulia

  9. Oh, Julia, I’m so glad to see you write about this, my friend. As you know, you’re not alone. There are so many of us. Hugs and love to you, my dear!
    Kathy

  10. Thank you soooo much for writing this. I’ve been struggling to understand the highs and lows my friend must be experiencing and your deep honesty of a brave life of integrity totally inspires me to encourage her along. Thank you sooo very much. You’re even more incredible than I realized. 😀

    • Thank you, Pink. Your friend probably cherishes your friendship far more than you’ll ever know. My good friends have been a lifeline for me….as have a few of you wonderful new friends/bloggers. The smallest gesture and effort by someone can make such a difference. Thank you for reading and sharing your sweet thoughts. You’re a wonderful friend. xoxoJulia

      • thank you soo much.. I wish I could do more for her. It breaks my heart but I realize that we all must face our struggles one day at a time, one move at a time. I really think more awareness like yours should be spread. You’re amazing. My hero!

      • Pink, you’re giving her the greatest gift…your friendship. It means everything. You won’t be able to always understand her, and that’s okay….sometimes even we don’t understand, but just be patient and be there to listen. That’s the greatest blessing and it will help her more than you’ll ever know. I love your heart, girlfriend. xoxoJulia

  11. Very poignant and courageous Julia. Well written and insightful. I am sorry you have to deal with this, but I admire your tenacity, your creativity, the beauty that is you. I know that is is very difficult, and the pain and frustration are overwhelming at times. But you, and all those with many different disorders, bring so much to a world that might otherwise be too “pastel.” It isn’t fair that you should have to pay the price you do to add so much to our world, but you do add so much, in so many ways. Keep reaching and growing, Julia, and call out when you need a hand.

    • Your words fill my heart, Marie. Thank you so much. What a wonderful thought….that I help to add to this pastel world…wow. What a compliment. And a gift you give me. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to make me smile! Take good care, my friend! xoxoJulia

  12. Reblogged this on A New Day Dawns and commented:
    Read Julia’s post yesterday, and learned a lot about Manic Depressive Disorder. I hope sharing her story will open more eyes to the plight of others with this diagnosis. They need love, just like the rest of us. Thanks for taking the time to read.

    • Patti – THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I feel honored that you’ve posted my blog on your blog! And I am now following a couple of your follower’s blogs! Funny how one thing leads to another. Thanks so much, girlfriend. You’ve really caused a smile this morning! xoxoJulia

  13. Ms. Julia, I nearly cried when I read this, for I also fight bi-polar disorder, as well as being diagnosed as schizo-effective and severely agoraphobic. I know the pain of loneliness so deep sometimes that I feel like my very soul is screaming for someone to see beyond my weight, beyond my plain appearance, beyond my emotional disorder and see me, the person locked within.

    That person cries hidden tears nearly every day as she sits at a computer, abandoned, for her family have all disowned her and she has absolutely no friends, save those on line. It does not help the depression one little bit, let me tell you. There are times that I wish that I had the courage to just simply end it and be done with it.

    But I have had just enough ‘churchin’ for my mind to rebel at that option. So I sit here, hurting, lonely, with only my dream of getting out of this government housing complex that has been my prison for twenty three of my fifty four years, trying vainly to find some way to better my situation.

    I think you are incredibly brave to have spoken of this in a public forum, and I wish you all the best. Hang in there.

    marantha d. jenelle/aka ‘MARADJEN’

    • Thank you, Marantha….for sharing your experience with me – it means EVERYTHING! Connect with me on facebook and let’s become friends! You know that I understand that lonliness….it can feel quite unbearable…the aching and relentlessness of it. Please, let’s share our thoughts and our friendship and help each other through it….and out to the other side to something more. There’s no need for us to journey through this life alone and empty. I, too, am trying to change my life, although I’m not exactly sure how to do it. I’m trying to get off the sofa more and out into the world. Most times I have to force myself to do it and ignore the thing in my brain that says not to. This blog helps because it forces me to get out. Please read my piece, “Out of the Darkness” and write down those phone numbers. If you ever feel that you’re at your end of your rope and can’t bear to go on….call them and talk to them. They are good people who really really care. This world NEEDS you in it, girlfriend! How do I know that? Because I see your name shine here…..You add to all that this world is and without you….it would be much much less. And I need a good friend that REALLY understands me! So, I’m selfish that way, I guess. The same pic is my profile pic on fb. Please look me up. And thank you so much for reading and leaving me this note. Take good care of your precious self, my very special new friend! xoxoJulia

  14. Me too and depression chronic severe. Lamictal and Wellbutrin. Takes the edge off and ups and downs less dramatic and episodes further apart but some days…..

    • Thank you for sharing, Carl. I understand about those “other” days…….it’s a challenge to say the least. I’m sorry that you struggle so. Please keep in touch. And take good care of yourself, my friend. You are a precious one in this world of ours. xoxoJulia

  15. I came to this page through pattisj’s reblog of this post. You have written about this disorder so beautifully and sensitively. Thank you for enlightening us all.

    • Thank you, Cecelia, so much! I have just joined your blog this morning. That Patti is a peach, isn’t she? Thank you for reading and leaving such a kind message. Take good care! xoxoJulia

  16. came over from patti jarrett’s place today. thank you for sharing this. i’ve had a few friends and co-workers with this disorder, but i had no idea on the startling suicide statistics. thank you for the enlightenment and the honesty.

    • Thank you so much for reading. And thank you with all my heart for caring enough to listen…and hear. You’ve almost made me cry just now…with this simple gesture of a note. I hope this helps you to understand and be more patient with your afflicted friends. They are lucky to have you. It’s a pretty lonely world inside of our brains…and our friends keep us alive. Be well and take good care. xoxoJulia

  17. jeff heck

    I found this to be very brave and quite informative…love your writing 😉

    • Thank you, Jeff! Why don’t you call me the next time you’re up this way and we’ll have lunch or something? I follow your posts on fb, but don’t see you there as often as I used to. Hope you are well. And thanks so much for reading my stuff and taking a moment to leave me a note. You’re a prince, dude. lol xoxoJulia

  18. So, why haven’t I talked about my bipolar disorder before this?

    Because talking comes at a cost. I’ve been prejudged, discounted, and dismissed.

    I’ve been embarrassed because of the social stigma and ridicule; like when I hear someone say, “She went bipolar on me.”

    Admitting it, has cost me a date or two and a few friendships. People are scared by what they don’t understand.

    And because people don’t understand what they can’t see and sometimes say stupid things; like I look so normal that I must be mistaken. I guess I don’t act crazy enough. Ha ha. And if they should get a glimpse? They run. Fast and far.

    You can add my picture to those lol. Oh my gosh Julia what you say here is soooo true. Especially the dismissal part. My primary diagnosis is now (wasn’t until retested recently) ADHD but it was Bipolar 1. Sometimes I feel like everything I say can be and is often dismissed because of my labels. Our condition isn’t like someone who has a broken arm or diabetes….we are often good at wearing masks and “turning ourselves on” to fit in. A bipolar friend of mine discuss often that we think we are the normal ones, the “awake” and everybody else isn’t lool. Thank you for posting this. Education is so important. Most people are afraid of judgement and repercussions and just don’t discuss it.

    • Dear Saymber – The most creative people who have commented on this blog are bipolar. I wanted to include so much more information about bipolar but there was just so much that it was something like 10 pages! ADHD is often diagnosed in error – due to the manic behavior. And depression is often diagnosed in error because the manic is unseen. In a way we are “more than normal” – we see everything…feel everything x 10…..feel for others….hear every sound. I think we aren’t more normal – but maybe more alive. Almost too alive, ‘eh, my friend? Gosh, how do I begin to thank you for this note? Thank you. My heart to yours….my heart to yours. xoxoJulia

      • 🙂 My heart right back atcha Julia! The almost too alive comment resonates with me. Sometimes it’s very tiring to be so alive! There are many of us out there and more each day. I think we are a sign the human collective conscious is waking up from a very long slumber. xoxo Jackie

  19. Thank you for being so open and honest. You’re not ashamed and trying to hide it.I truly admire that! Thank you for helping me understand it better.

    • Dear Jayne…Thank you for caring enough about others to read about it. Your knowing and caring is another thing that helps us. May God bless you always. xoxoJulia

  20. Ms. Julia,

    I have returned to this page each time someone would comment, and one thing has caught my attention…the feeling of acceptance and willingness to at least try to understand that is evidenced in the messages left by those who commented. It is such a pity that the rest of society…and the world at large, for that matter…cannot see us through the eyes of those who have commented on this page.

    I was looking over the array of people that you posted, and something rather odd caught my attention. Did you realize, when you posted those images, that over eighty percent of those people were or are artists, actors, musicians and writers? Do you not find it odd that some of the very people that are so lauded in both history and in current times suffer from an illness that makes us, the ‘common folk’ pariahs? Or that, quite often, those of us who are ‘common folk’ who suffer from emotional or mental disorders are shunned, reviled, mocked, abused…and yes, i mean not only emotionally and mentally, but physically as well?

    And out of the entire world wide population of those of us who share this rather unusual and bizarre kinship, about seventy five percent of them have extraordinary talents in art, writing, sculpting, music and more. Yet the world never sees the creations of maybe half to two thirds of those.

    we are seen as pariah, unworthy to do more than ‘step off of the sidewalk’ when ‘our betters’ are around. For the most parts are creations are only seen by family and friends. And quite often our families can be the most scathing and demeaning towards us of anyone. I speak from bitter experience in that.

    But does that make us truly unworthy? Does the fact that we suffer an emotional or mental disability make us any less human? No, it does not. Sadly, the majority of society does not see it that way. And because they consider us unworthy of notice, so thus too do they consider any of our creations.

    I wrote a verse several years back, in response to something I had read, about a young boy who suffered autism. He could not speak, feed himself, or even use the rest room by himself. But when you gave him blank paper and a box of simple crayons, he created artwork that was not only astoundingly well done, given the fact that he was only thirteen, but was almost heart achingly beautiful. He favored outdoor scenes for his inspiration, which, according to the piece i read, he copied from things he saw on television. The piece I read had been posted in honor of this young boy, for he simply passed in his sleep one night.

    Ms. Julia, I am sitting here, typing this, with my eyes welling with tears as I remember that story, just as they did when I read it. It touched not only my heart, but that of my muse, for not forty five minutes after I had read the final word, I composed my verse, UNOPENED GIFTS. I am sharing that verse with you now.

    UNOPENED GIFTS/BY/MARANTHA D. JENELLE

    Johnny had autism, he couldn’t even tie his shoes

    But he could play by ear classical, jazz and blues.

    Sylvia was deaf, but put a paint brush in her hand

    She would create pictures so marvelously grand.

    Captured by his hands, stored in his creative mind

    Mathew created portraits in clay though he was blind.

    But the huge world simply passed them all by

    They created in secret and then they did die.

    Paintings by one who had never a bird song heard

    Music by a young man who had never spoken a word

    Sculptures by a man who’d never seen the morning sun

    Went unheard and unseen when their lives were done.

    Society did not acknowledge their existence, you see

    Outcasts, unwanted is what it considered all three.

    Because they were different, because they didn’t “fit”

    The world did not want to see them as part of it.

    Beyond their outer differences the world did not glance

    It turned them away coldly, didn’t give them a chance.

    It did not seek to know the people that they were inside

    So it knew not of the wonderful gifts that each within did hide.

    But that very selfsame world will in the end pay the final cost

    In unseen beauty and unsung melodies now forever lost.

    So much beauty lost, simply because the world refuses to open the eyes of their hearts.

    Blessed Be,

    maradjen

    • Marantha, my gosh…thanks for the note. First, the poem is very beautiful and sensitive and touching. Wow. You feel the whole world, don’t you? I know…I do too. Now, as far as the world being full of insensitive slugs…ha ha….I try to see them as scared. They don’t understand. Most of them can’t even begin to imagine what my brain feels like – lucky them. So it scares them. They hear tidbits here and there and none of it’s good. And we bipolars don’t talk much about it…so it’s a catch-22. We stay silent and they stay scared. Although, some do judge and are insensitive…I most likely will “school” them a bit, feel the hurt of it, and then try to move on. They just aren’t worth my energy. I spend enough energy just trying to stay afloat. I included that very long quote about creative types mostly because it talks about how sensitive we are. How we feel things a thousand times more than other people do. I think that holds true of all of our emotions, so I strive not to let myself become too bitter or resentful of other people’s ignorant remarks or insensitivity. I try to educate them instead. Just last night while at a dinner, someone new to me made an innocent comment, “He went bipolar on me.” It was said casually (and from a place of ignorance, not insenitivity), and the conversation moved on. It was a young girl and we were all seated at a small table with others, our first social meeting, and her young kids were present. You would think it would be the perfect opportunity to educate her, but I didn’t want to embarrass her. I’ll find the right opportunity some other time. There’s no need to make someone feel uncomfortable or ignorant…that’s not my way. It did hurt to hear though. Because she’s talking about me. Anyways, thanks so much for your thoughtful and intelligent remarks. I look forward to many conversations with you in the future and hope I’ve made a new friend here. Take good care of your precious self, girlfriend. xoxoJulia

  21. post script to my last post…i have a saying that i devised for the ‘about the author’ section in all of my books…’The world needs to remember that even a misshapen seed can quite often produce a beautiful bloom.”

    Rather appropriate, would you not say?

    • That’s a beautiful quote! Sometimes, it’s the mistakes that end up being the most wonderful new thing. The accidental happenings or encounters…or even blunders. Thanks, my friend. And take good care. xoxoJulia

  22. I try to hide it. It doesn’t always work. Helps me write, though.

    • Shov, most people that I socialize with wouldn’t even know. People party with you, socialize, have lunch, chats, and no idea that anything is amiss. Until I tell them….and that’s usually only if it comes up in conversation, or I think we’re establishing a friendship…and sometimes just because the opportunity presents itself. I’ve read, (Google: famous bipolar quotes), that many creative types worried that if they were medicated that it would somehow change or stifle their creativity…but later they found that it didn’t. Their worries were unfounded. Anyway, didn’t mean to preach. Thanks so much for reading and dropping me a note. Take good care and keep up the good writing. xoxoJulia

  23. Kathi

    Julia,

    Very well written. Thank you (and Gerri) for posting this. I know of a few people who are bipolar and this helped me to understand the disorder. I’ve never read a better description of what they go through.

    Thank you again.

    • Thank you, Kathi. Please feel free to share this or repost it. It helps us when we know that others understand what we’re going through. Maybe if your friends see this post, they’ll take a small comfort in knowing that they are not alone. Thank you for the wonderful note. And for taking the time to read. And bless you for being a good friend to your friends. xoxoJulia

  24. I’m glad you are able to cope. Blessings to you, Julia…

    • Thank you very much, Carol Ann. I appreciate you taking the time to read and wishing me blessings. How kind of you. Love and blessings to you also, girl! xoxoJulia

  25. Vicki Chabot

    Hi Julia,
    I can’t say that I know you well. We were friends in 6th grade and have lost touch. But I will tell you that I admire you and your ability to share your thoughts, feelings and your spirit.
    Take Care, Vicki

    • Hi Vicki! Gosh, thank you so much for dropping me a note! That’s really nice of you. There are only a handful of people that I remembered from back then…but you are one of them. And there’s more now, since the reunion. Thanks for the kind words. I hope we get a chance to talk sometime. Take good care, dear old friend! (maybe not so old, ‘eh? lol). xoxoJulia

  26. Wow – I applaud you for this courageous post, Julia. You are writing the truth, allowing your readers to come to know you in an honest and authentic way…, and that is beautiful. You are inspirational, and I thank you for sharing this and allowing us to journey with you.

    • Thank you, Susan, for taking your time to read this and caring enough to comment. Your words are so kind and touch my heart. xoxoJulia

  27. You never have to be ashamed, embarrassed or worried about what I’ll think, my friend. Everyone has their struggles, and I only hope you’re on a medication that is working for you. Dismissed is not a word in my vocabulary for people as brave as you.

    • Thank you, Amberr. I have shed the cloak of shame and embarrassment and focus on educating people. Unfortunately, I’m currently unmedicated due to side effects and bad reactions, but I’m learning to cope one day at a time. I appreciate your kind words so much….they are my fuel and fill my heart. Thanks again, girlfriend. xoxoJulia

  28. Hi Julia, I came to your post after reading Nitty Gritty Dirt Man nominated you for a “Beautiful Blogger Award”. This nomination is so correct. You are a Beautiful Blogger! Thank you for sharing your struggles in a way that is easy to read and understand. I hope to stay connected through blogging (don’t spend much time on FB). We have some things in common and I admire your strength.

    • OMGoodness! Thank you so much. What a wonderful thing to say. We WILL most certainly keep in touch through blogging. Take good care of your precious self. And thank you for reading. xoxoJulia

  29. Ms. Julia, I have been keeping up with the comments that have been made on this post, and I must tell you right now that with each positive, supportive one that I read, it takes away a tiny piece of the pain that I have known at the hands of my fellow life travelers, for it lets me know that there are indeed ones out there who at least try to understand.

    I would like to present you with not one, but three of my blogger awards, all of which I created myself. I would give you a thousand if I had them, for I feel you would deserve every single one and more. Bless you sweet lady.

    I hereby present you with the following awards:

    THE ROYAL WORDPRESSIAN BLOGGER AWARD

    THE RADICALLY AWESOME BLOGGER AWARD

    AND LAST BUT BY NO MEANS LEAST, THE ANGEL KISS BLOGGER AWARD, GIVEN TO THOSE WHO WRITE BLOGS THAT TOUCH THE HEARTS OF OTHERS

    BLESSINGS, SWEET LADY.

    MARADJEN

    • Oh dear, Maradjen, you must know right now…..listen as I tell you…there is a world FULL of people who care and will love you just as you are! I am one of them! I know that there are people who are reckless with their mouths and careless with their words, and they seem infinite in their numbers, but there are just as many, maybe more, of others who really do care. And many of them are closet sufferers who are too embarrassed to speak out. They, like you and I, are just waiting for someone to speak first. Thank you for your wonderful awards, although, believe me, I am not worthy. You are such a sweetheart and a lovely, caring soul. I believe that I have made a life-long friend in you. Blessings to you as well. xoxoJulia

  30. Michelle Gillies

    You are one very brave woman. This is a wonderful post about a very misunderstood disorder. Including all those amazingly talented and gifted people really drives home the point. By the way your picture should be in with all the amazing talented and gifted people.

  31. Great big thanks (and hugs) to You, Julia, and to Le Clown for leading the way to your blog. You carry this with such grace. Maybe I can focus more on the positives of this, rather than its stigmas. Since 1996.

    • Hi Victoria! Just returned from a visit to your blog. That Le Clown, ya just gotta love that guy! Crazy and brilliant and wonderfully edgy! Thank you, girl, for your super sweet remarks……I understand how difficult it is. You know I do. I was talking just a few days ago with someone in a restaurant and when I said the word bipolar, I lowered my voice. Then I laughed and pointed it out to my friend. Sheesh! We’re so conditioned to be ashamed. I’m bound and determined to DECLARE it to the world! ha ha! Well, maybe not quite that loudly…..afterall, they’re already afraid of us, ‘eh? lol Thank you for your wonderful note and please please please keep in touch! xoxoJulia

  32. Very strong, brave and beautifully open post … I’m glad you found me (http://heifer12x12.com) so I could find YOU! Keep the faith, and keep writing!!

  33. This is the proper BEING BIPOLAR Journey with Julia diary for anyone who wants to act out out most this substance. You observe so untold its almost wearing to reason with you (not that I truly would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new extend on a subject thats been graphic nigh for age. Precise hooey, simply outstanding!

  34. Chronic depression severe, anxiety syndrome, bi polar. Lamictal and Wellbutrin take the edge off and the episodes are fewer and less dramatic. But most important for me is having insights and that I know episodes will pass, I am not immobilized, and just have to take a little “struggle time” knowing that things will be OK. It is a matter of adapting and managing it and not feeling helpless against it.

  35. Addie

    I, too, am bipolar. Thank you for this.

  36. Thank you for sharing. I am in the midst of having my mental illness diagnosed- but there is a strong possibility I am bipolar since it runs in my family. I can’t tell you how comforting it was to look through all those famous faces who have this disorder. It gives me hope.

  37. MS. JULIA, FIRST I WANT TO WISH YOU A BRIGHT AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS (IF YOU READ THIS TODAY), AND SECOND I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT I THINK YOU ARE TOTALLY ROCKIN’ AWESOME!

    HUGGLZ,

    MARANTHA

    • Marantha, Merry Christmas, my wonderful dear friend! I wish you everything special that life has to offer! You deserve it so very much. Thank you for this wonderful note. It is a Christmas gift. xoxoJulia

  38. Desiree Mate

    Julia this is by far the best you have written, it takes a brave person to face such a challenge. To understand is only to live within you. You will always be in my heart and I pray your days get eaiser. It helps to understand how deep, as things we may say or do can impact more so then one who does not suffer. Bless you daily Julia

    • Thank you, Desiree. Your note means a lot to me. I’ve thought of you and your family so many times over these past months. But whether I was right or wrong in everything that happened, I needed to know that you were sorry for your misuse of words and for hurting me. Because if someone doesn’t feel regret over their actions, then they will likely repeat them. And I couldn’t take the chance of anything like that ever happening again. I can’t even begin to express how hurt I was or how long it has taken me to recover from all of that. I am quick to love my friends, quick to apologize when I’ve done wrong, and quick to forgive…..should someone ask. I hope your family is well and that the baby is healthy and thriving. My love to Joe too. Thank you for the wonderful surprise of this note. Take good care. xoJulia

  39. Lisa VanBecelaere Kruse

    Well done Jules. This blog took guts to post. You’ve captured the true bipolar in your blog. And yes, it’s such a shame that it comes with such a stigma. The stigma comes from pure ignorance, from people not knowing what this disease really is. I was recently diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder, the same as bipolar 1 disorder but not so extreme. I am on Abilify now with my antidepressant and what a difference it has made. Maybe you can talk to your doctor and get on it too. It is a miracle drug to me. Take care my friend. Love you!

    • Thank you for your wonderful note, Lisa, and for sharing your personal experiences with me. I did try Abilify. It was the only drug that actually caused me to feel some relief. I had great hopes for it. And then it ATTACKED every joint in my body! I could barely get up and out of a chair. It was so disappointing and it took months after I stopped taking it, for the joint pain symptoms to subside. These drugs are potent. They can put you in a tailspin….or they can work and change your life for the better! I’m so happy that you found some relief. Love to you too, my friend. Take care and be well! xoxoJulia

  40. Dolores Vargo Christianson

    Julia my ex (my son’s father ) has bipolar only he denies it. It’s sad really when everyone can see it but him. He had a near fatal car crash 7 months after we married in 1987; he had a closed head injury that never healed correctly. I didn’t notice him getting bad until 1999 – 2000. I fought the battle with him for two more years but his spending nearly bankrupt us. His violet mood swings and lack of hygiene were too much and I left with our 6 year old son. My son is 17 now and refuses to have anything to do with his father “until he gets help”.
    He needs help bad but when he refused years ago I gave up. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.
    it’s a shame really inside is a good man.
    Good luck on you’re journey recognizing and admitting you have a problem is so much bigger than you think!

    • Dolores, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It is a very sad one, indeed. I am so so sorry for you and your son….and especially for your ex. Despite his instability and his denial, I’m sure he is living a very lonely and tormented life – and that is such a shame. But, my dear friend, you are very correct in your decision to leave. If someone isn’t willing to help themselves, especially when their illness is having a negative impact on others, then you have to remove yourself from the toxicity of the situation….because it will tear you apart. Thank you so much for your kind words of support and for joining me on this unpredictable and remarkable journey. Love to you and your son. xoJulia

  41. I just want to say I am beginner to blogging and definitely enjoyed your blog. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your site . You definitely come with tremendous well written articles. Thanks a bunch for revealing your web-site.

  42. Pingback: BEING BIPOLAR | Journey with Julia

  43. Julia, Thank you for writing this. I have a few friends who are bipolar. I always wish there was something I could do or say to help when they are going through hard times. But then again I think, I will just be myself and love them as always and that is the best I can do.

    • Claudia, thank you for your note. It is like a wonderful gift to me. Whenever someone says, “I have a friend…….”, then I think that maybe what I’ve written has helped someone understand….even just a little. Loving us just as we are can be challenging and often difficult, especially when we’re not all pumped-up-funny-entertaining….-manic. During my aggitated states I usually try to stay away from my friends because I don’t want to get all “prickly” with them and possibly ruin a friendship or hurt feelings, but occasionally I’ll go out driving w/someone (in my convertible w/its top down), and sometimes I can shake the moody/depression/crashing torturousness, and sometimes I just get more aggitated and have to go home. I have a handful of wonderful friends who have actually seen me this way and they are still around and in my life. THAT is my most precious gift. As I am sure YOU are a treasure and blessing to your friend. It’s people like you that keep us alive. Literally. Thank you. Love and blessings to you always. xoJulia

  44. Excellent post Julia. I’ve known and worked with many bipolar sufferers over the years I spent in the mental health field, a former daughter-in-law has the disorder, and so does a friend’s wife. It’s a one-day-at-a-time kind of thing that, as you say, isn’t fun to live with but can be managed and made liveable. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your educated, wise, tender words with me, George. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and leave me a note. You have a gentle face and a kind, warm heart, and I appreciate you very much. Take good care, my friend. xoJulia

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