I was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder in March of 2019 at the ripe old age of 32. There is a big stigma attached to it, but for me, receiving that diagnosis was a HUGE relief. It put so many things into perspective. I've likely been Bipolar since my early 20's. There are so many things that I had dismissed as "normal" or constantly given excuses for. "I've been depressed for weeks because... uhh, I haven't gotten enough sunlight? Yeah, that's got to be it".
I'd like to say that I'm not ashamed of being Bipolar because it's not a big deal. But it's actually a huge freaking deal. The year before my diagnosis was particularly hard. I was rapid cycling. I would be manic for a day or three, then depressed for a week. And the depressions were BAD. I saw the worst in everything, and was completely convinced that was reality. Then I'd be manic, and see the best in everything, apologize for acting out, promise the world. Only to yank away those promises a few days later. This stuff ruins lives.
But here's the deal - it's who I am. And now that I know, I can mitigate the damage. (No, you don't need a thousand dollar standing desk right now - you are manic.) And, the thing is, I've been bipolar for a decade. And I've still proven myself to be a successful entrepreneur twice over. Now that I know my own limitations, I can see the police tape and back off, instead of blindly walking off that cliff and having to climb back out of the hole. BPD isn't holding me back from being an amazing father, building a billion dollar business, or helping homeless people get off the streets. I could have done any of those things before I found out I was bipolar. But now that I better know who I am, I can do ALL those things, and more.
Next time you see someone who has the label of "bipolar", think of me. Think "at least they know who they are now. Good for them." And if you are bipolar, embrace it. At least you know who you are.