There’s really no preparing yourself to learn what being Bipolar means. They tell you things like, people are typically diagnosed with Bipolar in their early 20’s after a traumatic event. Everyone’s experience with Bipolar is different, and treatment is tricky because you need to find the right cocktails of medicine. I was diagnosed in 2000 during my hospitalization but it wasn’t until the last 10 years that I’ve started to accept, predict and sometimes understand my Bipolar. But in that time I saw doctor after doctor, drugs after drugs, therapist after therapist, but to no avail did I feel better or understood. I had so many doctors throwing drugs at me that I could barely function as a person. I would just lay around without any care to even bathe. The numbness would spread into my happy thoughts and times, I couldn’t feel those either. I can remember this one doctor that had this messy large office with a massive wooden desk in the middle of it. I sat across from him while he made notes of how I was feeling, and it wasn’t good, and then without even looking up once he handed me a prescription and I was dismissed. I walked out of that office feeling like the lowest human being on the plant and maybe I wasn’t even worthy to be called a human being. Somehow I was led by my insurance to my current doctor. I’ve been seeing him for more than 12 years. At first I went into it with negative feelings obviously tainted from the past experiences. Here we go again, but he was different; younger, kinder, and a listener. He didn’t care about the clock. If he asked me a question and I responded, he would ask more questions because he wanted to understand. This was new! He and I worked hard as a team to put a plan together to get my medicine under control and NOT feel like a zombie. Over the years it took some adjustments but I trusted him and right now I’m comfortable with my current treatment. His office staff isn’t that great but I keep going because he’s worth it. A doctor that cared and wanted to understand what I was experiencing. But something else I learned about my Bipolar was that there’s no cure, there’s really no stopping it. I think that was the hardest part for me to understand. I thought if I took my medicine and follow doctors orders that I would be the old me again, the Bipolar would lie dormant and peace would be part of my life. But that’s not true, no amount of medicine is going to fix me. I had to listen to my mind. I had to see how it was influencing my life. I had to learn to cope. Learn to live with it. You can do all the research you want but being Bipolar is unpredictable, everyone that has Bipolar is different and for me there’s never a break from it. The only way I can explain the true feeling of living with Bipolar is the example of that squirrel you drive up on and it can’t decide what direction to go, frantically thinking about ALL the options over and over again. I’ve also referred to my Bipolar as the hamster wheel in my head. It just keeps going, around in a circle, never stopping. I often ask myself if I’ll ever really get peace of mind. Will I truly hear the quiet of my own mind so that it too can rest too. When the highs are high it’s amazing, I’m so energetic and productive, starting projects and making plans which most will fall to the side when the high leaves. When the lows are low, I barely get out of bed, the black thoughts sink in and that’s where things get scary. There’s a reason that people with Bipolar have a 50% suicide rate. It gets dark and ugly. If your lucky you’ll escape this time with little damage. In my case self-mutilation may happen. I have all the scars to prove it. For some sick twisted way in that moment you see the red blood that makes you a human being again and allows you to visually see the pain that is going on in your mind. I hate this about me. Not at the time but after, when the black curtain has been lifted and I’m left caring for my wounds and above all, hiding them. But the other times you learn to function as the hamster spins in your head, never stopping for just a moment of peace.