26 May 2012

On having or being Bipolar

"It has been said: The whole is more than the sum of its parts. It is more correct to say that the whole is something else than the sum of its parts, because summing up is a meaningless procedure, whereas the whole-part relationship is meaningful." ~ Kurt Koffka

I have all the symptoms of bipolar disorder.  I regularly display signs of someone the general public might call “manic”, and practically live most of my day down in the sticky clutches of depression.  I cannot remember my point while I’m making it - writing this is almost physically hurting – and the fog in my head surrounds my thoughts so much that it sometimes spills into my vision.

If I were to visit a psychiatrist, I might be told which medicines would help me.   If I were to visit a psychologist, they would recommend some sort of cognitive therapy to ease my discomfort, as they would understand that my “cycles” are too rapid for the measly effects of mere products of human invention (aka me trying to cleverly describe medicine with the slight bitterness of someone constantly seen as a hypochondriac, due to modern Western medicine’s flaw in not recognizing anything that cannot be proven).

However, if I were to visit a wise man, I would be asked why I have chosen to limit my understanding of my Self, by boxing myself into a category.  After all, that IS what disorders and diseases are – simply a name for a group of symptoms.  But what if our way of looking at these issues is utterly wrong?  What if we need to look at each symptom separately?  Too difficult, right? 

True happiness doesn’t come with DIY pills, or one-stop fixes.  Maybe we need to look at mental disorders – and physiological problems – from the perspective of someone who is outside the box.  Perhaps, when I get manic and feel positive about my future, I don’t need to feel disappointed that it is nothing more than mania.  I do not need to dismiss positivity simply because an expert in psychology (named an expert by imperfect people in the same field) says that it is nothing more than a symptom of their conveniently named cluster of symptoms.  Their life is made easier – they don’t need to dissect every one of your symptoms, or view you as an individual.  You can therefore be thrown into the pile of “abnormals”, and they can move on to the next “case”.

But what if my positivity is a catalyst to my most creatively fertile moments in life?  What if my “who-cares” moments where I take large risks are, in the long run, some of the best decisions I ever made?  What if my biggest lessons are from those moments?  What if the negative is a path that is necessary for the positive to enter one’s life?

Most importantly, who are they to tell me any different? 

I can hear the “delusional” and “unaware of reality” comments already…. Or perhaps that’s my paranoia. ;)


  1. Everybody has emotional ups and downs. "Experts" label people bipolar because their ups and downs are simply upper and downer than most. :) You're not delusional. I think you're very much aware of what you are, and what you feel. And that, I think, makes you saner than most, actually.

    1. Thank you for the insightful comment! (and for reading - hardly anyone reads this post lol)

  2. I know this is an old post, but I just discovered your blog and read it (right after Golden Cattleya!) because the title interested me. It's unfortunate that every human emotion has to be medicalized and labeled a "disorder" in this society that so values conformity, unawareness, and a complete lack of affect. Kudos to you for resisting this trend!


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