The 2012 Peace Charlie Winning Essay

As a child, my parents promised me the world. They told me that I was normal and that I could do anything that anyone else could do. Those words would haunt me for some time. I am not normal but neither is anyone else. We are not promised or guaranteed anything in life. I look at myself and where I have been and some of it I can thank my mental illness for. As much as mania can be a problem, hypomania supplies a lot of energy to do the things you couldn’t normally do. Of course, depression leaves you in a slum, and you barely move out of bed. You make due with those things. Accept the hypomania and minimize the depression and of course the mania. I am in graduate school pursuing a degree in counseling. I found my time would be better spent helping all the people realize that life is what you make it not what it throws at you. I have bipolar disorder and that makes my life unique but so do a lot of other things.

As a person with bipolar, I have found family and friends to be an integral part of my life. Sometimes you don’t see what is coming, but they do. In a depression, you need that person to tell you that you simply can’t lie in the bed all day. In a manic episode, you need someone to tell you that you don’t need to dye your hair a new color every other night. Most of all, when you aren’t in an episode at all you need those people to recognize how amazing you are for all of your faults.

I have been at the mercy of my illness before. Who likes to believe that they are buying sanity with medicine so that other people can enjoy their presence? I used to say this a lot, but that isn’t really true. You can’t buy sanity and if you could you wouldn’t want it. Being normal is a cliché, and it is boring. We take medicine for all those days we wished life wasn’t so fast, slow, confusing, upside-down, and in another dimension. The medicine offers that stability but no memory. You forget that night you walked for miles with no knowledge of where you were going or the night you thought it would be fun to dye you hair from blond to black. I could tell stories all day about the crazy rollercoaster bipolar disorder sends you on. It is best to say that bipolar disorder makes life challenging and while some days are worse than others I am proud to say that my parents were mostly right. I can do anything anyone else can do, even if I have to work a little harder.

by Elizabeth from Louisiana

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