BiPolar Rock n' Rolla

"His a smart ass, but his as honest as they come. His sarcastic, but his got a heart of gold. His stubborn, but his loyal as all fuck. He has bipolar and you wouldn't know it, if he never told you. Now that he has, I wouldn’t have it any other way"

500,000 + Australians living with Bipolar Disorder, yet when I talk openly about my journey with it, I immediately see the fear in their eyes, the nervous step back or the chair being moved further away.

If people were going to say it about me, then I was going to say it first and I was not only going to say it better, I was going to articulate it and explain it in a way that makes people understand what its like, not sugar coat it, not dull it down to make people comfortable. It’s my way of trying to own my situation. So this blog to you, 8 months in-between writing, comes to you on my favourite topic in the world. Bipolar Disorder or formerly known as Manic Depressive disorder.

… After years of finding your path and belonging, to suddenly be told that you are a defect of humanity, and to know that you're not going to be the person you used to be, and that you will, at best, be able to get by. You will swing from suicidal lows to manic highs and that 1 in 5 people with bipolar disorder die by suicide or that by having this disease of the brain it would reduce my life by 9.2 years unless I pumped myself full of medication -- is fucking life shattering.

How much more receptive would a patient be to treatment if the patient was told that the treatment was to NURTURE a gift they had within, instead of NUMBING a disease they had?

What if I was told that successful people like Frankie Sinatra, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mel Gibson, Carrie Fischer, Jimi Hendrix, Mariah Carey, Ernest Hemingway or Winston Churchill had bipolar and showed that vulnerable, scared individual sitting in that chair that there is hope, that there is creativity, that there is unlimited amounts of potential to be utilised?

And that’s exactly what I want to do, create a different story for society to grasp, a new level of appreciation for what people go through and for those people who do live with it to be proud of who they are and loud about the struggles they may face. Or maybe im “crazy” haha

Getting infront of people and giving them the basic understanding and acceptance that bipolar is something to be nurtured and not to be squashed or marginalised or destroyed. That by learning to nurture your system in a natural way we can feel emotions and live, not just breath and get by. To have the choice or ability of lowering your medication levels so you no longer filter your senses, so you can enjoy experiences, you can feel alive, not bandaid emotions and live in a life you would describe as mediocrity.

But don’t get me wrong…

At times, living with bipolar can be an a massively consuming challenge, requiring a lot of energy and even more courage, Maintaining the feelings of stability in the middle is much harder than a “normal brain” (whatever that is), however I'm able to experience those emotions much deeper than most, so you do the maths with the highs. If you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals well before they issue your medications and booklets on statistics.

Some times i’m good for a while, ill talk more, interact lots, laugh constantly. Sleep and eat normally, but then something happens, like a switch turns off upstairs and ill be left with just a feeling of nothing. Completely numb, zapped of energy, drained of motivation and a a total disregard for my own wellbeing. Even worse is the million voices up top trying to understand what went wrong and why that switch turned off, when you don’t know the problem, it is impossible to find solutions. Its exhausting and it eats away at you, sometimes for months at a time. Feelings and thoughts become so extreme that I am forced to work tirelessly to regulate that back to normality, every time I get stronger, I can learn and evolve. Making those experiences beneficial to the next.

“Still, I know I’ll always be walking a tightrope, but you get better at it over time, and like the guy who crossed the twin towers, you learn not to fall. And the higher the stakes and tighter the wire, the stronger and more disciplined you’re forced to become in order to survive. It’s only when things are so dark you can’t see hope one inch in front of your eyelids and it’s so cold, your soul is so numb, you don’t even know if it still exists, when just as your dim glow is this close to being blown out by your own lips a sudden spark of grit and will to live breaks into a flame of desperation, raging to blaze its way into the light of day again. So by the time you finally rise, the light in all those sunbathing souls combined couldn’t hold a candle to the fire in just one of your eyes. And when you combine that with the bipolar fire, no matter what anyone labels you, that’s something they can’t deny.” - Paul Dalio (Filmmaker and friend)

I wouldn't part ways with bipolar, I wouldn't change it for the world.

Bipolar disorder has been my number one teacher. It's taught me levels to compassion & gratitude I wouldn't of known.

Bipolar disorder is often associated with a tremendous amount of creativity and drives in peoples life, thats why when reaching the consistent levels of wellness I do, I’ve been able to identify with my “illness” , now truly as a gift. I see the world, people and hold a value on things so differently to other people and only will it become that for you if you work tirelessly to manage it. Its like sitting an exam. if you haven’t listened at school, haven’t got the education, the understanding or the resources, good chance your going to struggle. The person next to you didn’t study either, he has no fuckn idea what his doing, so you cant lean on him. You can have all the teachers in the room around you and have their full support but they cant put the pen to paper for you. Only you can change the result, you can manage, you will succeed.

Im living proof of that.

"People who achieve any level of greatness while living with bipolar disorder are just extraordinary people" - Andrew Nierenberg (Director of Psychiatry - Harvard)

I feared sitting in re assessment and being labelled bipolar, I thought having depression and anxiety was enough. I regretted ever mentioning to anyone the severity of what I was going through.

Now, the only thing I regret is that I didn’t do it earlier.

I am not my illness, I am not crazy. Yes, I am different and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I no longer hold a fear of those people that take their step back, they are not my people.

Today, two years since my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder I am more stable, functional, healthy and happier than I have ever been. I still endure all the same thoughts, feelings and chaos from day to day that I once struggled with, the only difference is, now I know how to manage it. Im obsessed with that growth, I’m obsessed with finding meaning, understanding my emotions and sharing those experiences with the rest of the world.

I believe that all my past failures, frustrations and challenges, were laying these solid foundations for the acceptance and understanding I now have that enable me to enjoy this new level of wellness I consistently possess.

Yeah I have bipolar, I am bipolar proud.

You have bipolar? you should be too.

#loved and #worthwhile

Matt RunnallsComment