The 2011 Peace Charlie Winning Essay

Bipolar is a mood monster. He is the reason why I alternate between weeks of boundless energy and months of despair. During depressive episodes, he makes me feel fatigued, worthless, and indecisive. In manic episodes he injects shots of self-esteem, fleeting ideas, and pursuits of pleasure. The worst is mixed episodes, where he makes me feel depressed and manic all at once. He is easily triggered by stress, lack of sleep, and anxiety. He can be treated, but never cured.

I met Bipolar in college. He lit up my mind with a million fires and lifted my soul up into the limitless sky. Then, without warning, he dropped me into a valley of sadness and despair. He took me on shopping sprees, sent me on dangerous adventures, kept me awake at night, and raced my mind thought for thought. He was beautiful but dangerous. Some days he suggested that I commit suicide. We went speeding so fast I cried to a psychiatrist for help. My psychiatrist finally revealed our secret relationship.

Initially, I was angry and frustrated at Bipolar. I felt like my life was an intricate maze where I was unsure about how I would act at every turn. I was hesitant about telling people about Bipolar because I wanted to earn respect from others and did not want to be stereotyped as crazy, suicidal or unstable.

I only revealed Bipolar to my close friends because they were worried about me. I was frightened that they would treat me differently, but instead, they wrapped me up in a cocoon of support, understanding and love. Most people inspired me to better my relationship with Bipolar. However, some people blamed me for making excuses for my actions and having poor mental control. These people told me Bipolar did not exist, and made me feel hopeless. Most people knew very little about Bipolar. I found it helpful when they took the time to understand that there was a reason behind my moments of rapid speech, racing thoughts and agitation alternated with periods of sadness and loss of interest. I found it unhelpful when people saw me as the product of my strange behavior.

My family was not supportive of Bipolar and me. They saw him as an excuse and likened him to a bad boyfriend that could be dumped by taking drugs. I wish they could understand that Bipolar feeds on my mood, and that he is beyond my control.

Bipolar and I are married for life. Sometimes Bipolar is a bad influence on me, and I can only ask for patience and understanding during those times. I want the world to know that they should judge me based on my abilities, not on my condition. Everyday, I capitalize on my highs, and stay strong on my lows. My life truly is a rollercoaster, but I am not afraid to stay on track and chase my dreams so fiercely that people can’t take their eyes off me.

by Rachel from California

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