December blues and blahs

Some years ago, almost four years ago, people including doctors thought I might suffer from bipolar disorder. I'll leave out the gory details, but I kid you not - for more than a week I could not sleep, eat, or really function at all. The wheels in my head were turning. I felt a creative genius, that I could conquer all my fears and start a fulfilling career. I sought information. I talked to anyone who wanted to give me advice or was willing to listen. I thought I could become an advertising exec or an event planner. I wanted to use my college degree in English, my minor in communication. I did a ton of reading, writing, and talking.

I ended up in the hospital. I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance. I took an ungodly amount of doctor prescribed medication. I crumbled.

I couldn't go back to work for months - well, a couple of months. I had to reintegrate myself back into my job as a waitress. I was embarrassed. I was groggy. I was done with ambition.

This happened almost four years ago. I've spent the last four years beating myself up for what I felt was a sign of personal weakness. I wasn't the girl who had it all together; I wasn't even close. I wasn't the girl who had the world wrapped around her little finger. I felt so guilty. What had I done to deserve such a fate?

Now, four years later, I've gone through a recent similar situation. Around Halloween and the time of the presidential election I started having panic attacks, over-spending, tossing and turning, and feeling uneasy all night long. I had so many stressors in my life. I'd just gotten married, I landed a great job promotion, and I was overwhelmed. I wanted to pursue my dreams. I felt on top of the world. I felt that, finally, my life was going to go in the direction I'd always dreamed. I told myself I was on the cusp of inner peace, maturity, being a married adult and having a "normal" life. I knew I deserved it, though a little evil voice in the back of my head said, "no, you can't have it all."

Again, I fell apart. This time it only cost me one month off work. My husband didn't bail on me; my employer didn't either. I have better insurance now and received the health care I needed and got the rest my little brain so badly craved. I cried. I talked and talked and talked. I confessed my sins to both my parents and my husband, in round about ways.

Whether or not I suffer from it, "bipolar disorder," the label itself, is super offensive. I mean, it's manic depression. It's a condition that causes human beings to feel waaay too happy and then waay too sad, sometimes even in the same day, or in the same moment, perhaps... and when you break them down, those words... manic depression... doesn't it just mean greatly depressed?

I ask, are we not ALL, as people, a little bit bipolar? What do YOU do when you feel such a euphoria that it moves you to tears? What do you do when you're scared and can't sleep at night? What do you do when you feel so sad that you think you'll never smile again?

Do you, those of you without a mental health care issue, not tap in to your emotions? Do you push them away? Do you just move on from the good and bad and not sit and dwell? Perhaps a bipolar issue is an emotional or spiritual one.

They tell me I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, that maybe it's "just" an anxiety disorder. I've been called, by friends, an "over-sharer." I like to believe I'm also an over-thinker. Maybe I allow my brain to work hard, and allow my heart to feel too much. I don't mean to do it; it comes naturally to me.

It's my own little vicious cycle, and I have to stay a step ahead of it. If I don't, months or years from now I'll have to take more time off work, feel embarrassed... and feel that I have a character flaw... all over again.

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