Even though all signs point to bipolar, there is this nagging thought in the back of my head. Do I even have the right to claim the diagnosis of bipolar disorder?
Take a moment to fully appreciate the absurdity of that statement. Go on. I’ll wait.
If it doesn’t strike you as odd, take out bipolar disorder and insert the flu. Or better yet, cancer (Yes I went there). Before you all get your panties in a twist because I pulled out the cancer card, the point is that the flu and cancer are not choices, they are something that happens to a person because of external or internal events or problems that are above and beyond anyone’s control. The severity of the problem doesn’t come into play in this analogy. At all. Even if you take care of yourself and take all of the necessary precautions, it can still happen. No matter how well you hide it, or how well you function in spite of it, it is still real.
Yet, I so often think if I can carry on with my work and be successful, do I really have a right to say I have this disorder while so many other people are completely debilitated by it?
The answer to that isn’t yes or no, because it shouldn’t even be a question. If I had any other chronic illness and was still able to function, I wouldn’t think I didn’t have a right to my illness, rather I’d be grateful I was able to function in spite of it.
I experience the rapid cycling hypomania and major depression characteristic of bipolar II in ways that significantly impact my life. End of discussion. I don’t have to justify it, and I don’t have to earn my “right” to be sick. I don’t have to apologize for what I’ve been able to do, and I don’t have to explain away my competence. I’m lucky. I know that. I don’t have to feel guilty for my periods of stability and functionality.
Because this is about me and my relationship with bipolar disorder, not anyone else.