I can trace symptoms of my bipolar as far back as the seventh grade. I wasn’t diagnosed then, and I was misdiagnosed as having depression for a long time. But the same cycle of extreme highs and terrible lows can be seen throughout my life, especially if you read the journals that I have kept since middle school.
I crave the highs. Don’t you?
So many of us do, and the literature clearly shows that bipolar disorder is one of the hardest to consistently treat because when we are doing well we take ourselves off of our medication…and while we are on the medication we never quite get to that indescribable feeling of elation, invincibility, creativity, and passion.
The unfortunate part is that, even before my diagnosis, I always knew the highs would end. I thought it was just something wrong with me, some sin I had committed to make the Universe take away my happiness. I never quite trusted the high; I resisted feelings of happiness because of my certainty they would end and I would be so sad once again. I trusted my depressions as the true me, the real part of me that everyone would hate should they know how I truly felt inside.
I know now to embrace all of me, the pained parts and the joyful parts, but I don’t trust it.
My partner and I have been together through over a year of an incredible and ever-deepening love for one another. As we slowly move toward the post-honeymoon phase of our relationship, I find myself questioning his love for me. I’m afraid that the end of a high means the end of our happiness, the end of our relationship, the end of us. Not because I actually doubt him or his word, but because the obvious, overt passion isn’t as prevalent. Because he loves me quietly, truly, deeply…not irrationally at four in the morning after hours of Skyping, but rationally, when I’ve removed my makeup, when we’re actually paying attention to the movie (well, sometimes), when he’s people-watching at lunch instead of constantly gazing into my eyes.
But when I choose to trust it, to trust him, I realize I don’t have to seek a new high just to avoid the heartbreak of a depression. I’m not afraid to be in love with him, to move on to new phases of life with him, to experience the newness of stability rather than the newness of relationship.
I am, for the first time, learning to love without needing the mania. And it is so worth it.