Posted by: Heather Coleman | April 6, 2013

#HAWMC Day 6: A Letter to Bipolar Disorder

Letters spelling Bipolar

Dear Bipolar Disorder,

Right now, I feel as though I don’t know you at all. But, from what they tell me, you’ve been with me all along. Hearing your name four years ago made me scared, so I blocked you out, and didn’t let you in. I was dealing with too much at the time, having just suffered from postpartum psychosis, with a husband, an infant, and a toddler at home who needed me to be “there”. So I heard the diagnosis, but I didn’t digest it. I went through the counseling, I took the medication, and after a few months, life came close to being “normal” again. At least I pretended it was normal again. It took far longer for me to understand and let go of the terrifying experience I had been through. When I was finally able to open up and share that experience with others, I felt free. Free from the fear, free from the embarrassment, free from the guilt, and free from the anger. Something changed in me and it was an amazing thing. I realized how much I wanted to help others, especially women who might be experiencing something similar to what I had experienced.

And so I pushed you out of my mind. I focused on recovering from the traumatic experience, but not on understanding the underlying disorder. Now that I finally feel better about my mental health, I’ve decided to focus my attention on my physical health and I am eating better, exercising more, and even joined Weight Watchers to reach my goal weight by the end of the year. With things going so well, part of me feels like I shouldn’t rock the boat. But, I need to do something I should have done four years ago. I need to understand who you are and what you mean to me. So this year, I am making it my goal to learn more about you, to understand how you have affected my life, and how to handle you, should you every try and rear your ugly head again.

You are a part of me, but you don’t define me as a person. I’ll take the time to get to know you, but you better realize who I am. I am a survivor. I am determined. I am creative. I am happy. And I am not going to let you change that about me.

This is the most honest I have ever been with myself about you. It feels like the right time to face you head on. You better watch out!

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Responses

  1. What a courageous and strong lady!

    • Thank you!

  2. Heather,
    So eloquently put. As a mom, who overcame postpartum psychosis and eventually after 7 years was directly given the diagnosis, bipolar disorder, postpartum onset, I salute you. Accepting it, talking about it and learning to manage it, is how I have overcome it 🙂
    Blessings to you and your family!
    ~Jennifer~

    • Thank you so much Jennifer! I’m glad to hear that you have done so well. It takes time, but we’ll get there.


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