With Bipolar, or any mental illness, comes a stigma that in order to be creative we have to be full of angst. We have to be manic or severely depressed in order to create our best work.
I know because I feel it.
I feel the pressure to deliver my best writing but look back and think, I was once so good, when I was depressed. I shame myself for feeling happy and loving life because I don’t believe that I can produce the work I used to be able to now that I’m feeling the light.
Now that I’m not sinking.
I find myself longing for the strong words and emotions I would find in the depths of sadness and for the hilarious posts I would write out of mania; so bright and free.
And, to be honest, sometimes I miss those emotions.
I’m not lurking in the shadows waiting for light to find me, I’m no longer desperate for someone to understand where I’ve been and what I need in order to survive.
I’ve reached out.
I crawled from the darkness and fought my way into a place where I can now look back and say, “whoa, I was there? How the hell did I make it out alive?”
There are days where I long for the strong emotions that come with the bright lights, crazy confusion, intense thoughts.
Because I communicate my feelings in my writing, I feel them again as I write and at that time I could feel everything. When I was depressed I could feel the sadness over again, the loneliness, the despair. When I was manic I could feel the bright lights, the buzzing brain, the swirling emotions.
It was like flying on a rainbow with a unicorn by your side.
I’m at a place now where I’m stable, happy, and able to function. But I will often look back and long for my creativity, intense energy, and hilarity, as I saw it; remembering the sadness I wrote through, the darkness, the fog.
Forgetting what the ride was really like.
The affect it had on my family, the years I fought for, the med trials, the tears, the confusion, the time spent at appointments.
My creativity doesn’t come from my illness.
It comes from me.
The real me.
The person who beat PPD.
The person who fought and fights daily against mental illness.
The person who advocates for mental illness awareness.
And I remember
I am not my mental illness.