I started a new job, I’m working for the hospital now. It’s different, and so far I like it. I’m still doing CNA work, but it’s a lot different from the nursing home.
I have a great nurse on my shift. She’s from England and has the cool accent. She’s a hard worker, and is always checking on me to see if I need any help.
One day, we were talking and she was telling me about a former patient she had. She was telling me how crazy they were to work with. And then she whispered, “they had bipolar disorder.”
I have to tell you, that my heart stopped. I don’t usually disclose my diagnosis at work, it makes people look at you differently. People just don’t understand. And now, I know for a fact, that my nurse is one that just doesn’t understand.
Bipolar disorder is not a bad thing. I used to think it was. The ups and downs are hard to deal with sometimes, sure. And there are several things that you have to do in order to stay healthy and stable. And sometimes, in order to get stabke, you have to go to the hospital.
But the way she said it, it just hit me wrong. She whispered it, like it was a curse, or something much worse.
I wanted to scream at her that I was bipolar. See, I’m stable now, you wouldn’t know! Do I have my days, yes! But it’s not like we’re homicidal maniacs waiting to chop you up or something. We just need stabilization.
Bipolar disorder can be hard to live with. But it’s doable. You can live with it you can get stable. You can have good days. You can have a life. And you can hold down a job. You have to work at it, which is hard, because your mind works against you. But you can do it.
The thing that helped me, I found someone who listened to me, found a proper combination of medicines. I have to ensure that I’m eating and sleeping, make sure to drink water and stay away from caffeine and alcohol. But I finally feel like I’m stable. It’s possible.
But the way she said it, reminded me that the stigma is out there. That we still have to work to bring awareness to disorders and normalize what is going on in our brains. To remind everyone, we’re not crazy, we’re sick. That you shouldn’t be stigmatized for having to take medication, because you wouldn’t say anything to someone who has to take medication for diabetes or high blood pressure, so why are you judging me for taking meds for my brain? We have work to do.
But I can tell you, you can be stable. Will you have bad day? Yes, I have them. But your track record for bad day survival so far is 100%, so keep going. And if you need help, reach out. There are people who will listen. Call a friend, call the lifeline. Anyone. Don’t struggle alone. You’re real, and you matter, you are not alone.