Driving While Bipolar

Driving while Bipolar is hazardous to your health.

Traffic lights are points of contention.  You are either trapped in the pain and agony of depression, convinced at a dead stop that driving through the red light just might be the solution you’ve been looking for – or you are so lost in your own thoughts that you mistakenly drive right through it.

Okay, maybe that’s just me.  I don’t want to hurt anyone and I certainly don’t desire to run a red light.  But sometimes, I do want to die.

You see, to all the bipolars out there who understand this, I don’t need to explain myself.  But let me explain to those who don’t:  It’s not always a conscious choice.  Sometimes it really does feel like the only right thing to do.  We are fully aware of the troubles and worries we cause those around us (they have their own SUPPORT groups even!) and sometimes, just sometimes, you think to yourself that they would be better off without you.

Last night my husband and I were talking about acceptance.  Acceptance of the fact that I am bipolar.

I’m always trying to think of a way to control my depression, to make it go away, to become something different.  And I constantly think that if I just think hard enough or just try hard enough, I can come up with the solution, as if it’s a math equation with only one answer that I just haven’t figured out yet.

He’s right.  I have not accepted this part of myself yet.  This whole of myself.  I have not accepted that I have an illness, an illness that produces the following obstacles:

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

(That last part, I’m not so sure about.)

Sometimes, I can live with the fact that I have bipolar.  I can recognize the symptoms, truly try to cope by doing things that are good for all people, bipolar or not:  exercise, eat right, yada yada yada.  But there are many more times when I just can’t see beyond my own internal struggles.

Having a strong support system is a special blessing I have that some don’t have.  My entire family backs me up and steps in when necessary – when they see the signs I cannot see – and my doctors and therapist appointments and medication help, too.

But most of the time, I fight the disease.  I fight it tooth and nail.  I worry myself almost to the point of death.  And at every stop light, I wonder.

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3 responses to “Driving While Bipolar

  1. That thing about full and productive lives has always got up my nose, but as I was reading your post and mentally yelling yay I’m not alone, I had an epiphany. Well, a thought anyway. Maybe people like thee and me should redefine that phrase for ourselves. For me full=doing more than one thing a day and productive=more than two. Or something like that. Everything is subjective after all.

    About acceptance … we have to accept the fact that it’s both incurable and progressive, which is major – and doesn’t even touch on the symptoms (isn’t there a stronger word for that…..) we have a shitload to accept. So we should also accept the fact that acceptance takes time.

    I have absent mindedly driven through a fair few lights. And when I am anxious, I don’t drive at all. I don’t get suicidal on roads unless they’re empty.

    Ho hum.

  2. I get that inclination more with heights, the ‘I could just passively fall’ notion has entered my head more than once but then one remembers that there are people and things that tether us to this life and we simply have to keep trying. I do however struggle with road rage in the car especially if I’m manic and I have all that extra manic energy, I’m a terror lol but I’m doing my best go reign in it :)

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