A Little About My Frenemy.
I’m twenty-nine years old and I have a frenemy. My frenemy, she visits me at the most inconvenient of times. I remember when she first started coming around, she seemed harmless enough stopping by every now and again.
Then, there was a day soon after we had met, I ran into her while I was out with my friends. I was about sixteen at the time, an impressionable age. I was outside of the movie theater wasting time before the movie started. She came up to me, very nonchalantly and whispered into my ear, “these people don’t really like you. They pity you, they know you’re a loser and they couldn’t care less about you. You’re nothing to them”. Just when you think my frenemy had been a big enough jerk, she pushed me into the mud and kicked dirt in my face. I’ll never forget that moment or the many thereafter.
When she wasn’t being a complete jerk we actually seemed to have a great time together. She went everywhere with me doing fun and crazy things! We bought a Ferrari among many other cars. Stayed up all night partying sometimes and even raced other cars on country dirt roads, taking twists and turns while driving over 80 mph. We still do those crazy things sometimes, just not as often.
Why do I stick around?
I’m sure by now you are wondering why I still let my frenemy hang around. Why is she still a part of my life? The truth is, I have no choice. You see, she is my bipolar disorder. Even though she isn’t going anywhere I have learned how to handle her. She behaves a little better over the last thirteen years.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I knew very little about the disease. What I did know was explained to me by my psychiatrist. I learned that it is a mood disorder caused by a chemical imbalance in your nervous system.
I still struggle to learn how to live life day by day. I have also grown accustomed to the erratic mood changes; mania to depression to mania again.
What can you do?
Individuals with bipolar disorder can have different experiences in the various cycles of their disorder. Manic episodes can come and go in a flash or linger for months at a time. These moments are usually triggered at the most inconvenient times. They can be triggered by significant life events, like moving and getting a new job or relationship. I have learned to cope with the disorder, through a combination of family support, therapy and medication.
Through the support of family and friends, a person with bipolar disorder can feel a sense of companionship. Companionship is important because this can be a very lonely and confining disease.
There are many mental health resources that provide safe outlets, free of judgment, provide safe outlets to discuss the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. Most people that have never had a mental illness have a hard time understanding what happens to those people who do have one. The most important thing about therapy is actually going. During times of depression and emotional lows of the disorder, it can be hard to even get out of bed.
Thank you for reading about my own worse frenemy and how you can support others with their own.