You are my favorite teapot, and I will love you even when you leak.

I will never forget the day I complimented you,
and instead of taking it, you assured me that you were not perfect
because you hate to do the dishes,
and you don’t see well when driving in the dark,
but darling, you don’t seem to understand
my definition of perfection,
for I find it hidden within all of your quirks.
You are like the polka-dotted teapot I once found
tucked in the back corner of a local shop.
You have smooth edges and the cutest paint job,
but you came at a price—the crack near your base;
I bought you anyway, and I hoped with all my heart
that you wouldn’t leak too badly.
Except, sometimes, you do,
and when you do, I wrap you twice over to stop your seeping,
and I go about my business.
You are never a burden, nor are you a hindrance,
and I will not dispose of you.
I may tell others after the fourth complaint
that I’ll simply put you on a shelf to admire,
but not to use,
though never for always.
Because your tea, somehow, tastes just…a little bit better
than the rest.

This is Not What I Expected

I stare out the window,
stand and watch the rain beat down
harshly on the rug spread on my patio;
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I sip coffee from a chipped mug that I broke
during my last move;
its temperature scalds me—
just like life.

By the time I finish my cup
and the day has halfway gone,
the raining stops;
So, I do as I always have.

I trudge outside,
hand the sodden rug over the metal furniture to dry,
and I make my peace that,
oftentimes, life occurs in such a way that I am both
the mess and
the broom;

No worries, though,
for I will always have the ability
to sweep myself back up again.

Seafarer; From the Perspective of a Future Lover

Her hair—twisted like long, green tentacles—fell like water across her face
and as the rain came pouring down, algae liquid followed suit—oceanic.
In the depths of her laughter, I explored the brightest and most beautiful coral reefs,
and in the wake of her tears, I learned that, sometimes, they…get bleached.
Luckily, she always finds the light again, and I am able to sun-bathe in her warm glow;
Together, we grow tanner, and as nightfall breaks, her body crashes like waves upon me.
Over and over and over again, I get to enjoy her tides until it’s time for me to nurture, rather than to relish.
Because as the sea rises and falls, so does she, but that doesn’t make her any less my favorite place to be.

MANIAC

Today has been good.
I got out of bed. I showered. I got dressed up.
I was productive. I had coffee. I filed papers.
I socialized—flourishing in the limelight.
…I made a mistake.

Today has not been good.
The shower was so hot it scorched my skin.
When I was getting coffee, I almost hit another car.
While I was socializing, I crossed boundaries that I knew were there but didn’t care about in the moment.

Today has been manic.
I cried hysterically when I put on my ex’s favorite shirt. I didn’t stop until I was ordering my drink.
My productivity consisted of using up old art supplies by tie dying my bathroom towels at 2:30 in the morning.
I think I pushed away my best friend.

Today, I took my medicine. But today, it didn’t help.

BIPOLAR ESCAPISM: PUSHING PEOPLE AWAY & DISAPPEARING

When a person in a relationship—whether platonic or romantic—has bipolar disorder, the symptoms can often affect both people. These interferences will arise in a variety of situations—whether manic or depressed—and they will manifest differently based on the personalities of the persons involved and the situation at hand.

One thing I have noticed across the board, though, in both my personal life and the lives of the bipolar individuals around me, is what I’d like to call an escapist tendency. This tendency can manifest in any mood or altered state, but I see it creep up most often in romantic relationships—particularly when the relationship seems to be going a bit ‘too well.’

I know—that doesn’t really seem to make sense. If things are going well, isn’t that good? Yeah, of course it is. But for people with bipolar disorder, for those of us who are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, being in a romantic relationship that makes us so incredibly happy also often reminds us that there is a big downswing waiting just on the other side. Because we live cyclically. And that’s destructive thinking, yes, but, sometimes, we can’t pry ourselves away from it because it’s all we’ve ever known. Up, then down. Up, then down. Over and over again. And the more encompassing the high, the mightier the fall.

So, when things are really good? We have a tendency to run. Because it’s better to remove ourselves from the situation than it is to watch such a beautiful thing come crashing to the ground, right? Especially if we feel that wonderful thing is crumbling because of us and the way that we exist.

What I’ve noticed, then, is that, instead, we disappear. We push people away, and then we exit their lives slowly—casually. Or, we forgo the pushing them away stage and just straight-up ghost them, leaving them to wonder whether or not we were ever even real. And while that is nowhere near fair to the people that this keeps happening to, I cannot say that it makes us any less prone to be “runners.”

I don’t think any of us ever look at leaving as an attempt to harm the other person. We’re just trying our best to survive, and, sometimes—with our minds the minefields that they are—escaping feels like the only way how.

The Pursuit of Happiness

A couple of weeks ago, my therapist asked me, “What makes you happy?” and I was not only baffled, but upset, when my first and only response—at least, for some time—was “I don’t know. Nothing, really.”

And while, if you’re fighting and living with a disorder that has depression as a characteristic, you might find that statement not to be all that shocking—I was still surprised because one thing I’ve always prided myself on is being a happy and optimistic individual. But…how can I be happy and optimistic if I’m not…happy?

So, like most realizations therapy causes, I sat in it for a bit, and during the next session, I told my therapist that “Love makes me happy. I love love.” And I confessed this not only because I was in a relationship that made me feel like love, personified—but because I know that my best friends would do anything for me, and because Valentine’s Day is my favorite (and honestly, only celebrated) holiday—no matter whether I’m in a romantic relationship or not. Still, I needed to sit in this some more.

By my next session, I had had an epiphany, and the epiphany was that the problem I was having was perspective. Because I had felt happiness before, so why wasn’t I feeling it as intensely now?

It’s because I was stable.

You see, mania really does a lot, both to the body and the mind. And while it is absolutely not always positive or joyful, I have experienced manic episodes in which I was in total euphoria. And in those episodes? I love everything. Everything—literally any non-negative thing—brings me so much unbridled bliss when I’m in the midst of euphoric mania, and that is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

However, it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows (or whatever it is that you find particularly inviting and lovely.) In fact, not only do we have non-euphoric manic episodes, but we also have paranoia, psychosis, and major depression. Alongside this? When we’re stable (which is what people without bipolar disorder people may consider to be ‘normal’)—we’re often bored.

So, what has happened to me over time is that, when I’m not experiencing euphoric mania, it feels to my brain as though I’m not “truly” happy, even when that’s not necessarily the case. This, then, of course, triggers my depression because “If I’m not happy, then something must be horrifically wrong.” It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s one that’s incredibly hard to fall out of.

Now that I’m aware of it, however, I’ve been trying quite hard to fight against that trigger because mood stability, for us bipolar folks, is so goddamned overlooked and important. I’ve been making a point to do things for myself, rather than to always only do things for others, and I’ve even been learning to celebrate my own small victories. (Something I’ve never really allowed myself to do before.) Both of these are helping tremendously, but, unfortunately, that sinking feeling still looms over me.

And if it’s looming over you, too—just know, you’re not alone.

Loving Bipolar

Now, by the title, you may think that this article is about learning to love your bipolar diagnosis, and, in a roundabout way, it sort of is. But more so, this piece serves as a reminder that having bipolar disorder does not make you unlovable.

Content warning for parental abuse and neglect in the first paragraph and for mildly graphic mentions of self-harm and suicide at the end of the first paragraph; mentions of death and domestic violence in paragraph three.


Some backstory:

When I was young, my biggest fear is that I would grow up to be exactly like my bipolar mother. And this scared me, not because of her diagnosis, but because of how she behaved. She did not take medication. She did not go to therapy. I watched as she pushed every person in her life away and then cried. She manipulated people. She abused drugs and alcohol, often to the point where she chose those things over her own children. I was neglected and traumatized. At age eleven, I even watched her slit her own wrists and listened to her tell me that if I left in response, she would kill herself. And the last thing I ever wanted was to have kids because I couldn’t bear the thought that I could ever even possibly make them feel half as bad as I did.

As I drifted through life from age twenty-one to age twenty-seven, I lost my ability to self-validate, and I forgot exactly how I used to self-soothe. I was, instead, dependent on others for consolation and for authentication, and, while I was aware of how unhealthy that was, I didn’t know how to stop it.

At twenty-seven, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, too, and the fear that I would “end up exactly like my mother” resurged—only this time, it sprung to life with bonus atrocities because now, I also feared for my relationships. My mom was in an on-again-off-again abusive one until she died. My examples of relationships, then, showed me that “people can’t love me without being intoxicated” and that “no one ‘normal’ will love me because I’m ‘crazy.’” I internalized these from a young age and carried them with me through adulthood. It was only with the help of therapy and medication that I was able to unlearn those negative thoughts and begin to relearn healthier ones. That said, small parts of me still very much hated other, much larger parts of me. And, with all of my self-discontent, I couldn’t see how anyone would want me. Because dating people with bipolar disorder, I thought, was a life-sentence. I knew that it was difficult, excruciating—even, from both first- and second-hand experiences, and because of that, I knew that if I didn’t have bipolar disorder, there was no way in hell that I would ever date someone who does. That warped thinking came from a special form of self-loathing.

Fast forward to twenty-eight:

I have just suffered a hellacious ankle injury that left me immobile for months. I’m going through the worst depressive episode of my life after a year-long manic episode, and my partner—whom, for months, I had been absolutely petrified and paranoid was going to break up with me because of my mood disorder—breaks up with me because she cannot “handle” me now that I’m so “down.” Cue: homelessness and the sad reassurance that everything awful I feel about myself must be true.

But I’m almost done with university, and I have friends who—thankfully—will always have my back. So, I keep showing up. Despite this gaping pit of depression I can’t seem to claw my way out of, I continue going to classes. Most of them. Somehow, I do my course work, even if it’s not 100% my best work. I let it come down to the wire, and then I force myself to write my 74-page capstone. I keep going to therapy. Every session. I keep taking my medication—every day, like clockwork. I am on autopilot, and while I do not feel even the slightest bit human, I am, surprisingly, still managing my life in a way that does not lead directly to destruction.

Until I met him, and then…suddenly, I didn’t have to just “manage” anymore. You see, E’s the first person I’ve ever been interested in who also has bipolar disorder. And while I was not looking for him, he still found me—as love often does.

In his bones, I found shelter—not from the outside world, but from myself—and with his unknowing aid, I unraveled parts of myself that I thought were so far gone I would never see them again. Through his words, I discovered that I was capable of restitching the fragments of myself that I used to keep hidden away beneath my floorboards. As he grew, I grew, and as he learned, I did, too. In E’s eyes, I began to see the reflection of a me that I had missed for so many years—a me that I didn’t even think existed anymore. Because he has bipolar disorder and I am so madly in love with him, I revealed to myself that people can and will have the capacity to love me—even if I’m bipolar—in the same exact ways and to the very depths and intensities that I so love him.

And that revelation was life-changing for me. But this is not one of those stories where the princess is rescued by a knight who receives all of the glory, despite the efforts she may have put in. Instead, this is an allegory for how other humans may serve as beautiful and necessary catalysts for your own love and hard work. Because while I could not have done this anywhere close to as easily or as quickly—or, hell, maybe even ever at all—without him, it is still I who had these epiphanies. It is still I who connected all of these dots. But, don’t get me wrong, I am forever grateful to E for putting me into this specifically aligned place where I was able to view through him an entire future that’s so much happier and more well-adjusted than any future I had dreamt up before.

What these last few months have taught me is that bipolar self-love is magnificent. It’s awe-inspiring, all-encompassing, and transcendent. Bipolar romantic love is very much the same—passionate, cavernous, transformative.

To all of my bipolar babes who feel that they are unlovable—you are not. You are not something to “deal with.” You are not someone to simply “handle.” You are a force to be reckoned with, and despite what anyone says about how bipolar disorder makes one “unfunctional,” you are living proof that that is not the case.

You are enough.

You have always been enough.

And you will always be enough.

Hurricane Marie

Below is a poem I wrote about a friend—who was also my roommate—after she got her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2015. This was long before my own diagnosis, but I remember her getting her test results, coming home, and then sliding down the wall and sitting in the hall floor in silence for the remainder of the evening. I wanted to do anything to help—but I couldn’t.

We were never romantic, but I romanticized the work below because it seemed more impactful that way. She was, however, one of my best friends. About two months ago, I re-read this poem for the first time since receiving my own bipolar disorder diagnosis, and I let her read this work for the first time since its creation, too. When I did, and I was discussing it with her—just after a hugely depressing break-up that was the result of my having bipolar disorder and my partner not being able to “handle” that—I wept at the hopeful thought that someone could love me like this in the future, too.

And no, her name is not actually Marie, but she did give me permission to share this.


The shuffle of plastic against ceramic as I sit echoes through the open door and out into the hall.

When the haze clears, my eyes settle upon personal care items strewn across wintry laminate tiles—the color of which has been watered-down with the contents of each bottle, over and over again, at altered intervals. I sit her items back upright and into the places that she can never seem to find on bad nights;

last night was a bad night.

Peeking in as I pass by, bleach-stained rug in hand, she looks so pure. She rests on her stomach as curls cascade down the gradients of the cheeks I’ve grown so used to cupping, and her body remains spread across as much of our bed as she can tangibly inhabit at once. I drag myself, so used to dragging her, to the kitchen and clean. I wipe up all of her messes, bleach that godforsaken bathroom rug once more, and sweep;

she sleeps.

Then, I mop the bathroom floor—freeing her from having to take responsibility for any of the repercussions of the aftermath that is Hurricane Marie, for she doesn’t need to worry about the stress of cleaning up that which she cannot control.

By 9am, I’ve snuck back into bed. And just when I believe that the amount of love I feel for her is only overcast by my own cosmic levels of exhaustion, soft hands begin pulling at my shirt until her face becomes adjacent with mine;

she is worth everything.