I have bipolar disorder. That means I have some wild mood swings. I can be high as a kite feeling 10 feet tall and bullet proof with enough energy to clean a whole house in a couple of hours, and the next thing I know I can find myself in a pit of depressive despair so low that I don’t even want to get out of bed and don’t have the energy to change out of my night clothes.
The worst part is that I never know which way I’ll wake up or when the mood swing will hit. They can be gradual, taking place over days, weeks, or even months, or they can be super fast and happen in the blink of an eye. I can be laughing one minute and crying like a baby the next. Sometimes my mood can swing more than once a day. Gotta love that rapid cycling, yeah! Not!
I take medications for bipolar disorder, and they do help stabilize me to an extent. I lived my life for over two years without any psych meds at all, and life is much more fun and bearable with them than without them, believe me. I take something for the depression, and something to stabilize my mood, and something to help with the mania, and something to keep me in the groove. It took several years and a lot of trial and error to finally find a medication cocktail that even remotely works for me. Most drugs seem to peter out over time as I take them for some odd reason. Hopefully, these won’t do the same.
Yes, even with medication I still struggle to keep it all straight. It’s hard to make it in a world where everyone expects everyone else to be “normal.” What does “normal” even mean? No one fits the dictionary definition of the word. Finding someone who is truly “normal” would be like finding someone who was “perfect.” It’s impossible to do because they don’t exist. But that doesn’t stop people from expecting it, from looking for it in their fellow man, in every man, woman, and child they meet on the street.
That’s where my personal mantra comes in, “Fake it till you make it.” All you have to do is to build yourself a mask that looks like what you think a “normal” person looks like and put it on every day until you have the energy, the strength, and the other resources to be that “normal” person. You can hide behind the mask when it all gets to be too much for you and no one will be the wiser. You can don the mask when you would much rather just stay in bed and be left alone, turn yourself on autopilot, leave your brain in bed where the rest of you wants to be, and walk around with a smile on your face like everything is perfectly okay.
Wearing the mask really does work wonders. You should try it sometime. Or have you been wearing the mask so long that you’ve forgotten what the real you looks like?