At age 20, I was diagnosed with Bipolar I after a manic episode mixed with psychosis which sent me straight to a psychiatric hospital. Well not really a hospital, rather, a rehabilitation center in Georgia. No, I’m not from Georgia nor have ever lived there, but it just so happens that I was visiting a friend when I went “manic”.
But don’t be alarmed, this is not an account of my (mal) treatment in the rehabilitation center or in the jail I was held for 5 days because of all things, my mania began at the Atlanta airport. No, this is about how I was forced to grow up after my experiences. How I could no longer consider myself just a care free college girl with no worries, but rather, an adult woman with a mental health diagnosis, which was tough, at best.
I could not accept my diagnosis, nor did I want to admit that perhaps I needed help from someone other than myself. As a psychology major I should have known better than to fall prey to stigmatizing myself and my diagnosis, I thought “But I’m not crazy.” How ignorant and little of me to think such a thing.
And after yet another stint in a psychiatric ward in the Bay Area, literally three days after returning from Georgia, I was convinced I had Bipolar I. It wasn’t the psychiatrists who convinced me, nor my arsenal of daily meds that did it. No. It was my mood swings. My constant flow between happy and sad. My to and fro, that’s what convinced me I had Bipolar I, and yes I needed help.
I became my own advocate, then. Seeking help and resources in my community. Standing up for myself whenever necessary and becoming an adult, in a manner of speech. I never thought I would have to grow up so fast and so soon, it was in the summer before my Senior year in college.
I felt as though the Universe had screwed me over, big time. And after wallowing in my self-pity, I got it. I understood. Sometimes it takes a huge life change to make you appreciate life better and make you a better person. It’s life’s way of putting you back in your place and giving you perspective. And wow, did I ever get perspectified! Yes, it’s a new word, I just made it up because I can do that. 🙂