By Will Morro
Chicago, IL, USA
Has anyone ever asked you what the craziest moment in your life is? Well, the average person probably spits back a response about the time they went skydiving or a time they experimented with drugs. My response is a little different.
I'd probably have to start with a little chuckle, "Technically," I'd continue…
"Well, imagine waking up from a two-day drug-induced sleep in a room no bigger than a small dorm room. You're on a bed with all white sheets. There are no windows and only pale cinderblock walls surrounding you. To your left is another hospital bed…vacant at the moment. Things are more or less blurry, but I remember my dad appearing, maybe he is waiting till I wake. I have no sense of time. My dad, carrying a few books in his hand, delivers news that establishes what exactly is going on."
The question previously posed is, "What is the craziest moment in your life?" Well, some days it's hard to narrow it down, but it will be hard to beat the day I woke up to learn that I had gone crazy and was, in fact, diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder.
Over the past few weeks, I went insane again. From time-to-time, I will continue to have ups and downs that manifest themselves into feelings and emotions more severe than most people will ever imagine. Feelings of depression and mania, both, in my opinion, states of psychosis, are impossible to label; especially labeling them correctly. Your brain tricks you into believing in the manifestations that it is creating. The chemicals or whatever the brain releases are so intense. Undergoing these new chemical releases, you begin to formulate your own opinion as to what exactly these intense emotions and insane thoughts are. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. In my case, generally, really damn phenomenal. The thoughts, maybe not the feelings, stick with you. For me, the memories of the events remain. The emotional swings that you go through…the feelings that you can really never get rid of…while hitting your highs and lows is something that puzzles me more than anything else.
My final semester in college, while taking a class about Bipolar Disorder, having been relatively recently diagnosed, I learned that hospitals diagnose many people with mental disorders. These labels, in turn, become pretty much impossible to tear away. Much like these labels are the labels we as Bipolar individuals put on the emotions and feelings we have when finding ourselves in extremes. Tearing away the emotions we feel when we are manic or depressed is simply impossible. Furthermore, in many cases, we find relief in these states of being, and sometimes wish to pursue them in order to find exactly what we are looking for in our own existence. These feelings and emotions are just too strong to ignore.
One of the hardest parts about being Bipolar isn't the times when you're insane, and to a lesser extent depressed. The real hard times come in the aftermath when you are brought back to earth. Being Bipolar can be debilitating. It knocks you down no matter what you do to build yourself up against it. Recovering from believing you are the most powerful man on the planet, from believing you're in love, from thinking you can't move, is all extremely difficult. You never plan on it, but you're life becomes engulfed in a false reality that you fixate on, and if you're lucky, you get a chance to come to your original senses and start completely over.
Sometimes you ask: What is it like dealing with news that you went insane? On reflection, the answer to that is easy. Nobody has that realization sink in and not allow it to faze them. Nobody goes twenty-one years of their life thinking they are just like everyone else to one day being told they are legally insane and not be changed. Of course, I heard the news from my dad the first time. Only problem was that I was still down in a bed at the psyche ward of a hospital; I was still very much insane. To hear the news, at that moment, meant nothing to me. My mind was still churning a million miles an hour. Nothing could stop my ongoing mission. My new place in life – being locked in a hospital – was just a new challenge I had to overcome at the moment. The games continued to march on, and the new puzzle was set.
Sometimes you get lucky. Most patients reject taking their medications. The problem with that is many patients have personal opinions (thoughts or labels) about taking pills for the first time. Patients reject them, not necessarily because they think they are hard to take, but they truly, deeply believe that the meds are bad for them. It's hard to grow past the thoughts you have under mental illnesses; things just end up really mattering for no "real" reason. For me in particular, I did not care about the whole hospital thing. I figured just put my time in at the psyche ward, take my medication, and move forward. I was, am, and will forever be a person who lives in the moment. To think about this new change in life and how it would affect my future was an impossible feat, something I continued to learn about as time moved further forward. One thing is set in stone, however, things in my life were going to change, and the ups and downs that manic depression delivers were sure to awaken new challenges.
In my life, I never ask myself what could have been or what if things had gone as planned. I learned that the best-laid plans never really work out…so it's generally not worth making any. A person diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder might find himself or herself thinking that it is only their problem, or even dilemma. Thanks to the people in my life, I have never had to think that way. I do think that having a Bipolar life is my problem, that's just the reality, but luckily, I know I do not have to tackle this problem without the help of many friends and family.
I have always had two different worlds in every stage of my life. I always hope that my worlds will find a way to collide and unite, but until then, it's always going to be about moving forward and staying thirsty. Opportunities can never be made through regret. If you're trying to move on in your life, don't waste a moment looking back.
I'd like to think of myself as an open book. I don't sit around thinking of myself as a perfect person, but I do know I hold no guilt or regret for the good or bad things that have come my way. Live life knowing there is a next one on the way. You're never really finished.