Is This Mania ?

Breathing air that seemingly becomes so fresh Working endlessly on a project that determines my worth.
Going hours without eating Disappearing without a trace Reading theories about the fucking M&M characters!
I thought I was just happy.
Finally after months of being alive but not living.
I just thought I was better.
But not eating takes a toll, My body shaking as I try to hold off for just one more second.
If I eat the happiness leaves.
The energy…the frenzy just leaves.
I am in love to the very thing that destroys me.
I guess it’s mania.

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.


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.


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.

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.

The Umbrella & Why You Don’t Have to Fit Under It!

As with all groups, extremism is a trap anyone may fall into after a certain amount of immersion with like-minded people. Often, extremists don’t realize they have abandoned their true cause and are all operating from the same platform. Hate.

Essentially, they have aligned themselves with other extremists. Full stop. In doing so, they find themselves members of a seperate entity that is inclusive of the very groups they may be railing against. They are united in hate and the furthering of their own agenda above anyone else’s. Thus, narcissists and psychopaths often infiltrate causes for their own gain. The most extreme manifestation of this being cult leaders.

Where am I going with this? Just as it is important to differentiate between “having Bipolar” vs “being Bipolar”, it’s important to maintain your individuality rather than develop a mindset that you must think and advocate like all who have Bipolar. Similar to those who elevate themselves based on being the “sane ones” (I don’t believe anyone is), some of us develop the notion that only those with Bipolar are approachable and start to believe all those without our struggles are bigoted. The initial stages of this include hyper- sensitivity and character assassinations. Furthermore similar divides can be seen between the various diagnoses and believing your’s is the worst, so others are “barely Bipolar“.


So let’s take a look at a clear divergence of thought amongst our community. This is information for you to extra-polate your own opinion and I have no agenda, although I will state my opinion.

Some required definitions:

Etymology- is the study of the history of words. By extension, the etymology of a word means its origin and development throughout history.

Merriam-Webster states four definitions of Bipolar, for the purposes of this blog I will address two:

  • 1. having or marked by two mutually repellent forces or diametrically opposed natures or views
  • 4. psychology- being, characteristic of, or affected with a bipolar disorder

The general rule of thumb? The first definition listed is the preeminent app-lication of the word. In truth, Bipolar is an adopted word, which mostly gained traction in the 90’s to replace the term manic depressive. This was an attempt to eliminate the association of mania with maniac. Prior to this relabelling, the term Bipolar was most accurately applied to various scientific observations, i.e. a zoological term and electricity. However as with all things, at the time it simultaneously became an adjective used to describe opposing viewpoints.

The designation of Bipolar as a diagnosis was not a stretch, as it is both a scientific label and an identification of conflicting mindsets (so to speak). Although this is accurate, it was still a usurping of the word that continues to have active alternate meanings within society today. Due to this fact the latter part of the definition of etymology does not apply, in so far as the word has not evolved into a singular meaning and the likelihood a scientific term will evolve into this singular definition is low.

Whether you believe people are hypersensitive to the use of Bipolar, whether you don’t care, or if you believe being incensed by the word is justified…well that’s the point. You are entitled to your stance. I, myself, believe the labelling of weather as Bipolar is not inaccurate or offensive because it is the description of a scientific phenomenon.

Guess what? Many disagree including people I associate closely with and who cares? I’m not an extremists, they aren’t either. WE CAN AGREE TO DISAGREE! Also, I don’t mind if the word is used to describe opposing views. This all falls within the parameters of Bipolar as it is defined.

In my opinion, stigma perpetuation includes ascribing all erratic behavior to Bipolar accurately diagnosed or not, indicating someone needs to “up their dose” because someone has deemed them Bipolar, and/or basically when it is used as a characterization of any individual rather than a diagnosis. The latter being kind of a catchall for the misuse of the word.

Since this application misses the mark entirely it is also fair to say using Bipolar to reinforce a negative of any kind is a misuse of the word and contributes to stigma. Yes opposing viewpoints can be labeled as such, but the label is strictly meant to highlight a rift between two parties. It is not meant for the purposes of editorializing and casting a negative light on the conflicting ideals.

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.

The Importance of Grieving Your Pre-Bipolar Dx Life

Maybe you’ve always known something wasn’t right? Maybe you thought, “I think I just need a little therapy because it sounds like it’s helpful?” Perhaps, it was court mandated? Or it’s possible you entered the therapist’s office believing you were there to address a single issue you’ve been grappling with, like divorce?

No matter what brought you to therapy, most can’t predict or want to that there may be a deeper problem. It’s a chilling blow, a terrifying experience when a therapist listens and then suggests you may have a disorder, a syndrome, and/or an illness. That’s not why you showed up right? How could that be true when you were just there to get a little help?

When your therapist begins to describe the characteristics you display in comparison to the diagnosis criteria, it’s as if she knows everything about you all of the sudden. If the diagnosis is Bipolar, that’s really not that hard for most therapists to assess. It’s the type of Bipolar that is trickier to identify and the process of ruling out a personality disorder, especially Borderline Personality Disorder and all it’s overlapping symptoms.

The completely accurate diagnosis comes a little later, but it won’t change one of the most pervasive thoughts you will likely experience. How different could my life have looked if I had sought or been provided treatment earlier?

As if watching a movie you’ll see dozens, if not hundreds, of instances that could have turned out differently. Turned out better even not just for you, but for loved one’s and friends as well. How many of those relationships would you still have? You’ll look at your professional life or your failed attempts to have one. Look, you’ll pick apart everything. We all do.

I still burn bridges. I still can’t hold a job. All I can say is at a minimum, I have moved past lamenting the past. It took a long time. The truth is it really is mourning the loss of a life. Mourning the loss of a life that could have been, never was, and never will be. As with any loss, you are entitled to take that time. Heck, write some shit down. Not all of it, but process what you need to with your therapist.

The key is to engage in the mourning process fully and to begin as soon as you have come to terms with your diagnosis. You can’t begin the work ahead of you and heal if your dwelling so much on the loss that bitterness and resentment are ruling you. All you’ll do is continue to accumulate moments that could have been different.
You don’t want that. I know I didn’t.

What we want is to have moments that we wouldn’t want to change. The diagnosis, the grieving, and the work ahead is all so much to take in, but guess what? It’s all a gift of hope in the end. Finally a lessening, at least, of the hopelessness that has dominated our existence for so long. So, in a way, congratulations on your diagnosis. Here’s to a better tomorrow!

Hypersexuality and You

Everyone’s had an itch before, right?  Sometimes it’s on the bottom of your foot, but you can’t take your shoes off.  You end up wiggling your foot around, trying desperately to scratch the itch.  It seems to take forever for it to go away.

Now imagine that the itch is your sex drive and your life is the shoe.

Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

Hypersexuality is an often overlooked aspect of Bipolar and other disorders.  So overlooked, in fact, that my editor is looking at the word like an error.  Maybe it is.  A cosmic error. 

I bet there are a few people out there who would read “hypersexuality” and think it must be AWESOME to have a hypersexual girlfriend.  Never getting turned down for sex?  SO into it.  Sorry, fictional bros, but it doesn’t quite work that way.   Yes, when I’m hypersexual I want sex.  A lot.  A LOT a lot.  But it’s far more than that.   It’s feeling sexy.  It’s seeing sex everywhere.  That guy over there?  His girlfriend?  Yeah, they totally want me.  I can tell.

Of course, there are obvious downsides, the risk of STIs being just one of those.  There’s also the risk to your mental health when the hypersexuality wanes and you’re left to deal with what’s left in its wake.  I still cringe when I think about the last episode of hypersexuality when I was single.  It’s more than just cringe-worthy, though.  It’s the realization that you could have put yourself in harms way.  Not only your health, but (especially if you’re female, unfortunately) your life and safety. I could have been axe-murdered so many times. Yeah, boys and girls, it’s not all fun and games.

The truly unfortunate part is that many people don’t understand that this is a symptom of their illness.  They might not realize that they are ill at all.  When you realize that this hypersexuality is a part of the illness, you can take steps to prevent or mitigate it.  Without that knowledge of yourself, you (or at least, this holds true for me) heap guilt upon guilt and don’t understand why you do the things you do.

Once you accept that the amped-up sex drive is a symptom, you can begin to forgive yourself for your past behaviors, be it inappropriate flirting or a string of one night stands. More importantly, you can begin to learn how to deal with hypersexuality without completely wrecking your life.  It is possible.

There are tons of resources on the internet to help you deal with hypersexuality.  One of the most important things you can do, though, is to treat the bipolar disorder, whether that be with mood stabilizers and medications or through therapy and coping techniques.  Unstable moods mean unstable sex lives.

It also helps, if you’re in a relationship, to keep that in mind as a goal.  Hypersexuality can ruin relationships and marriages, but knowing your triggers  and being honest with your spouse about the way you’re feeling can go a long way toward keeping your relationship happy and healthy.

Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re not slutty or gross.  You have a condition that causes  your sex drive to kick into high gear when your mood spikes.  Be safe, but don’t be hard on yourself about it.