When you ask about me, my mind races. Maybe you ask what I do. I read, I play games, I’m a student, I do 3 part-time jobs, I think, I sit, I dance (when no one is looking), I push for destigmatization of mental health issue, I go to church, I pray, I draw, I scream, I collapse, I take care of my dog, I dote on my fiance, I code, I break things down, I freak out, I sleep, I dream, I try to sleep but can’t, I don’t watch movies except when I do, and when I decide that my body is betraying me I subject it to overwork in unsafe conditions. I clean. I don’t clean, I buy too many things and regret, I buy not enough things and regret. I do so many things that when you ask me what I do, despite me knowing the question typically addresses working or student interest, my mind fires all these things and sometimes none of them, or some subset between the two.
Nothing is ever really simple for me. When you ask me where I grew up. I remember the apartment we had near the medical center, from before I was three. Not many memories, but enough. I remember nightmares I had, I remember moving towards a slightly better part of town into a duplex and while the people toured us through different duplexes in the area all owned by their company, there was a dog running around the one we ended up at. I think what preschool was like, where I was at when I learned I was “different” or smarter. I remember growing up with the Russian kid whose dad had broken English. I remember my first best friends and growing into adolescence and how I wanted to keep them all and then remove some and then make new friends altogether. I say “I ‘grew’ up in San Antonio, but moved to Lubbock for high school.” Because the answer they want is I grew up “here” (Lubbock). But I grew up a lot. I still am growing up. I’m not a grown-up even if I get classified as an adult. I think to middle school, I was bullied, witnessed gang violence, was considering gun violence of my own, got in to see a doctor when I was young, had depression, likely due to my father’s accident. I stopped sleeping, I dreamt more and more and remembered so many. There were hallucinations and then we moved to Lubbock and the story goes from there. I can’t simplify things for people in my head, I have to find the response they want because my life story hits me most times when I am asked.
Sometimes I hear the thoughts of artists. I sing to music that doesn’t exist and when I try to write it down, it fades to the void that I’m all too familiar with. Sometimes I see amazing art in my head, and when I take to paper I’m nowhere near adequate to even get remotely close. I write poems but forget the words, I romanticize ideas but forget what they are. I lose thought mid speech because my thoughts went so far ahead that some buffer limit was hit and I had to reset.
I analyze all the things that are wrong. All the things that are right. All the things I see in other people I would like to see in myself. I get social anxiety, I fake my charisma. I acknowledge a person’s problem as not a problem but when the same circumstance comes to me it is a problem again. I can’t keep quiet or I won’t speak at all, it always, always depends on the day.
Having Bipolar Disorder can be a lot like gambling (even causes people to gamble witlessly). I never know what I will face when I wake up. Who I will be. Maybe I change me midday and forget that problem that was life ending. Maybe I tell myself I will never be who I want. Then I hit it back into my head that it’s just symptoms and remind myself they are better and fewer even if still present. It all depends on the day.
When you ask me who I am. When I’m honest, I tell you I’m bipolar. I tell you that I’m smart and scared and will never compromise my integrity. I speak about my suicide attempt as a fulcrum to a better life. I grab your attention when it hits me because you have to know I’m not ashamed to be bipolar. You need to ask me what it’s like being bipolar so I can arm you with knowledge and encourage you to destigmatize.
I started this post with no intent. I finished it with something resembling one I guess. Today it’s a mixed day. A Grant can’t keep up with Grant day where I’m pulled in a million directions.
What was I doing again?