Submission to Man Repeller 'Writers Club' May Prompt - "This month on Man Repeller, we’re exploring duality. Things with two sides. For this month’s writers club prompt, we want you to explore your two opposing sides. What’s your biggest contradiction? Tell me in 500 words or less."
Things with two sides, you say? Prompting the exploration of duality? Allow me to give you a crash course on what it’s like to bare a duality you have no control over. I am my own biggest contradiction and it isn't because of having “standard” multiple traits. If there’s one topic that covers this months ‘Writers Club’ prompt in a nutshell it’s the condition I live with everyday; Bipolar. A disorder with the literal definition of duality.
I am often met with questionable assumptions people remark when I tell them about it. This is a taster then, if you will, which I hope will expunge some of those pesky misconceptions! Euphoric, exceedingly confident, powerful. Despairing, empty, powerless. Up and down. No in between. From one period to the next my mood and behaviour contradict one another, there are two versions of me that don't reflect how I “really” am. It’s a game of never ending ping pong where no contestant ever wins.
Five years ago aged 19, sat in an office with a putrid green carpet and the unnerving whirring of an exotic fish tank in the background, my first psychiatrist described having Bipolar to me like this: “You are a house. The middle floor has gaps in it. The roof has holes everywhere, and the basement is beyond repair. Now, what we want to do with your treatment is try to keep you on that middle floor, not shooting through the roof or falling through to the basement.” Suffice it to say, being described as a decrepit house is never anyones #lifegoals. Nonetheless, I have found it is totally true and staying on the middle floor comes attached with its own set of challenges, medicated or not.
Being this house-which clearly needs builders on the job ASAP-isn’t my choice. I don't choose to want to itch myself out of my own skin when I am depressed because I can’t bare to be me. I don't choose to think I am undeniably the most intelligent, super efficient (and sometimes most beautiful!) person to be around when I am hypomanic. It is simply how my brain operates, constantly in a dual with itself. Even though it can be really tough, I have started learnt the joy of learning to live with this condition. In general, life is abundant with unpredictable moments and outcomes and I have the addition of my mood dictating these things. That’s why a smile anchors itself upon my face when I think about how having Bipolar has taught me to ALWAYS live in the moment.
Faced with thinking about who I am, the duality of Bipolar has drawn one certain conclusion. I am a walking, talking contradiction. That said, while I may be bound to the weight of this disorder, the idea of just being (which ironically comes with it) creates the greatest sense of freedom. I am whoever I am at any given moment, and that is exactly how I am supposed to be.