My Bipolar

I have severe bipolar disorder. Bipolar with psychotic features, to be exact. And I’d like to tell you that I have it all together and that I’m at peace with my mental illness. I’m not. I go in and out of real, legitimate psychosis on a regular basis. I have been curled in an empty bathtub in the fetal position because I heard FBI helicopters, I have thought Nazi spies were after me, last weekend I was convinced bugs were living in my stomach. But I also have a bachelors degree, I have had my writing published internationally by the European Union and WHO. I don’t like to admit it, but I hide my mental illness from people as much as I can because for anything I have accomplished, it all means jack shit when they see me talking gibberish to myself, not having bathed in weeks and noticing me skinnier from not eating. I am ashamed. I’m not like other people. I know that my mind is different, I can tell. And I’m embarrassed. I just want to fit in with everyone else. I was a social worker for four years and in that time working with others who had chronic mental illness and speaking for myself, we just someone to see us- not be spooked by the external manifestations of the illness, and just bear witness to our humanity. It’s so hard to be vulnerable as someone living with a disability but at the same time there is nothing I crave more than the connection that comes from allowing oneself to be seen. And isn’t that the real challenge as someone with a disability, the real rebellion: being seen in a society that tells you every day to make yourself invisible.