I was diagnosed with bipolar in my late 40’s and I am now in my fifties. I am still learning to live with bipolar since it is a part of who I am, just as my personality is part of what makes me me. They make me uniquely me.
Saying I had bipolar did not seem so bad. When I felt bad, I took the medicine, went to therapy and treated it like a real illness. When I felt better, I would say, “there is nothing wrong with me, bipolar is not real” and I would stop the medication and cancel my appointments with the therapist and psychiatrist. When I finally used the words, Mental Illness, it became more real. Saying my blood pressure is high, I must be under stress will make you take your medicine until you no longer feel stressed and the pressure goes down. But saying I have high blood pressure, makes you take your medicine and watch what you eat, exercise and all that good stuff, no matter how you feel.
That’s the way it was for me with bipolar. Once I accepted that it is a mental illness, I started taking it serious and doing the things that keep me moving forward.
Learning to live as a person with bipolar has not and is not easy. But with the proper medication, support system and regular therapy, I’m learning more about it and me everyday.