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Having a bipolar disorder can churn life inside out, making it very difficult for those who love you. A searing personal account. #MentalHealthAwarenessDay
How does it feel to be Bipolar? Why is mental health still such a taboo?
Does “family honour” matter more than mental health or do you think the concept of “family honour” has anything to do with having a mental illness in the first place?
Yes, mental illness matters. No, ignorance doesn’t heal. Sometimes time worsens the smallest of wounds. It’s time we brace up and stand for mental awareness in India. Especially mental illness awareness among womenfolk in India that is such taboo that it has always been brushed under carpets every single day in an Indian household.
As an Indian woman, I’ve been trained to hush up my illness. I’ve been asked to whisper softly, sometimes never talk about it, sometimes ignored and most of the times, pushed to a corner and forgotten because seemingly, my illness overwhelms people. My illness is supposedly too much to handle and sometimes “attention seeking” even.
I do not ask for sympathy. I have had my highs. Being Bipolar can be incredibly great for an Artist (Don’t you dare quote me, we are all different and no two people will have the same opinion on this matter) and yes, I craft the best poems, best stories when I’m most depressed. I like to think of my disorder as a tool. It helps me more than I’d care to admit.
The manic rage phase is the worst because, (again opinions differ) in my hyper positive state, I sign up for everything I’d regret later, text people I’ve never even met and get out of my comfort zone way too much and embarrass myself later.
Sometimes, the two phases wash over me in such recurrent cycles that for several days I cannot trust myself to take a decision, I cannot trust myself to give or receive the love and support I deserve. I close in on myself, and that is where the real damage happens.
I want to elaborate the ways to love and care for a Bipolar spouse/partner in future articles, but before that I want to tell you how it feels to live with the disorder in the first place.
Here I will rant about how it is to be a Bipolar writer.
I can’t really welcome you with opens arms to a home that’s full of cacophony, full of voices in my head, full of the jargon of the noise I want to forget and things that are too delicate to tell you. Basically, I can only take your hands, walk with my head bent down and push you into the mess that’s in my head and watch you discover me for all that I am.
Bipolar or not, I still am the woman you always thought I was, the woman that you admired from afar, the woman that hoped you could be and the woman you loved without expectations.
Yes, I do have phases. Yes, being with me requires effort. Yes, I will exhaust your energy. But tell me, weren’t the best of all diamonds, once the most jagged edged-carbon rocks?
So take my hand, I’m not the one to be feared. I do not wear masks. I am whole, raw and madly on public display, unlike some many-faced people you’ve come to meet. I might singe you, but I will also be your cure. Approach me with love till I burn all your insecurities about me.
I am as much human as you are and at some moments, more human than you ever can be.
So welcome, to my world. Take my hand, let me show you around.
Hello Bipolar Me!
Can I tell you how much I’ve loved having you around?
You’re my sunshine and moonlight combined and I can’t really say what I enjoy the most,
Being so fucking happy to be alive,
Or wanting to destroy people just because I feel artsy.
I force my hands to not pen this as a piece of poetry,
Because then, you’d win. Like you always have,
You’d win over and over,
I want to be happy because you’re winning.
But how can I really be happy when you are pitted against yourself in an infinite loop of undiluted madness?
Madness. They tell me that’s a bad word.
A word you cannot simply toss around.
What if it offends?
What if it singes people who touch it?
Like a ball of fire thrown on bales of hay.
What if it burns down people alive?
Can I please tell you, that my madness is mine to toss around?
Can I tell you, my madness is mine alone to write poetry about?
At nights I’m a wolf unleashed, a vixen with wings,
But come daylight, I’m the sun that burns the wolf alive, I’m the fire whose tongues lashes its own limbs to survive.
What have I become? Is a mantra tattooed on the tip of my tongue.
I am washed by defeat, I’m buried with price money,
I can’t really say what I am, anymore.
I think I’m an universe of crazy, but then I watch my human self tear up inside locked bathroom doors,
And I listen to my body begging,
My heart thundering,
From my own self.
Who am I?
I’m the sea.
My endless waves crashing the shores in apologies,
I’m sorry I failed you, body. I’m sorry I failed you.
Who am I?
My rock being infinitely pushed uphill to only be rolled down again.
Who am I?
I’m the chimera you fell in love with.
Half-dream, half-nightmare, I’ve got your soul wrapped around my pinky and the best part is,
You know me. You love me.
Who the fuck am I?
I am the storm you wished you stayed home from.
Hello Bipolar me,
I know you are having a hoot,
Playing hopscotch around my thought-riddled brains,
Pickling my life in tiny jam jars and my heart in brine,
I know you believe I love you.
Well, I do.
I’ve always loved all of me,
My scars, my raging nights, my all.
But trust me when I tell you this,
You are all the ghosts I want to exorcise,
All the hope that torments my night,
All the things I want to unsee,
And all the time I want to buy back.
But each time you whip me alive,
All my gashes seethe Art.
My blood flows as poetry,
My cries are music,
In tuned pitches from untuned instruments of my soul.
Because after all,
You are also the hurricane, I want to relive,
You are all the madness my tiny hands can hold without spilling, all the unrestrained life my little heart can throb with, without falling apart.
You are me.
So hang in there, Bipolar me.
Our body is a temple, honey.
No more wrecking balls.
No more tear drops,
And till I write to you again,
No matter what, you’re not going to stop.
Image source: Flickr, for representational purposes only
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Poet. Published Writer. Spoken Word Artist. Entrepreneur. Avid Reader. Amateur Boxer. Wannabe Motivational Speaker. Dog
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