It is a Disorder, not a Decision

(Disclaimer: What is written below is a personal perspective and does not endorse or reject any clinical or scientific methods used in treatment or rehabilitation of any psychological disposer. The post also does not intend to disrespect the pain or suffering of those who are clinically diagnosed for any disorder. The only purpose of the post is to share personal experiences and provide an alternative perspective)

unlike the storm which rages
or the volcano that shudders
before its release,
or the tsunami that warns
like the tornado which
tumults everything about

wild fire is unprecedented
a strike of a match
a careless fuse
an unwarranted gust of wind
spreads a wave so large
it consumes all,
and kills everything.

wild fire, I have inside.

(Wild Fire, a poem by Meenakshi Iyer)

“I have bipolar”, they said. Countless. It’s like the upgraded version of depression and like a latest app, everybody wants it. A bad day depresses you, a bad boss frustrates you and a bad job leads to an addiction.

But what is  it that makes you cry for no reason? What makes you wake up one day and hate yourself? Why do you feel like doing your best and being the best for a dew days, and then just drop like a stone randomly?

Hormones, neurotransmitters and social design, they’ve all taken a shot. There is even a label. Bipolar. Swings of mood and energy. Rock stars have it. Creative geniuses write about it. Your friends blog about it. And some in the world suffer from it.

If you’ve had someone tell you, ” Just think positive!”, or “Be happy” and “smile more often”, you know there is something wrong. Not with you, but with the people around you. They have a brain which has chemicals reacting differently than yours. It is not their decision to be positively disposed, they just are wired that way.

You aren’t. So you need to put in effort. You need to have days where you switch off and stuff you face in a pillow and scream while tears flow down your face. You need to take a moment and break away from everything that is happening in your life; friends, job, activities, classes. You need to disconnect. You need to die for a little while.

The books, videos and therapists will say the exact opposite. They’ll tell you to identify your irrational thoughts causing negative feelings. They’ll tell you to find an outlet for all that emotion. They’ll tell you to find a ‘happy place’ that keeps you grounded to reality.

Are they wrong? Of course not! Does that approach work? Seldom.

Processing the emotions and the turmoil that they bring about within you is key. The more it lingers, more it’ll disrupt. So yes, going through the episodes and letting it ebb is necessary.

But there is one more thing which is pivotal. Fear. Knowledge that if you do not get back to the real world, you’ll lose out on many things which matter a lot more than your feelings. The fear to survive, to not fail, to be secure and safe. That basic human fear – cultivate it. Know that you cannot be off your game at work, or disconnected from relationships for too long, because then the mountain that stands in front of you is twice as hard to climb.

But remember, it will follow. You don’t know when and how, but it will. Because that is what it does. And what you do is go under for a while, hold your breath, and when you hit the limit, break the water and gasp in life.

All we do is survive.


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