Two months ago, my ex-boyfriend came to pick me up when I was just back from Turkey. He was my high school sweetheart and now he became my best friend for more than thirteen years. Although our relationship sounds strange to some people, our friendship is genuine. As one of my oldest friends he knows all my darkest secrets and became my support system especially when my parents got divorced. He has a good life now with a very kind girlfriend. I couldn’t be happier for him.
I told him about my road trip in Turkey. About the amazing old buildings, cultures and history. All in one place. I told him that I wanted to move to Istanbul and leave Australia, the country that I have been living in for the past two years.
“You always so excited when you just came back from a new place and wanted to move there straight away. But you are usually very disappointed after you tried to live there, it’s like you have a pattern. It happened when you moved to Depok the first time, Jakarta, Bali, then Australia”
I got upset “So you think that it is wrong for me to be excited? It’s easy for you to say that since your parents are still together and you have ‘home’ to go back to, but I don’t. If I must, I would travel the whole world to find it. From all the people I know I thought you would be the one who understand since you know all my struggles”
“I didn’t say that it’s a bad thing, and it’s completely okay if you want to travel the world to find your home. It’s just that I noticed you have this pattern that’s all. I just don’t want you to be too disappointed later”
I felt judged. I went home crying, deleted his number, swear to God, I would never tell him anything again.
A week ago, someone convinced me to go to a mental health centre. I’ve been feeling strange with myself for years. I was constantly upset with everything and everyone. Small conflicts could lead into weeks of depression. My reactions to conflict always disappeared and pushed people away. I would spend weeks in a hotel room that I rent just to cry my eyes out. I didn’t even know how to function well as a human being, and it bothers me.
I’ve been asking myself, am I just being hypersensitive? Is it just me that feels this way, or other people too? Why is it so hard for me to control my emotions?
The psychiatrist asked me a lot of questions. How am I feeling right now, how’s my sleep cycle, when did it start, how long did the depression last, were there any suicidal thoughts, what’s the trigger, have I ever experienced getting too excited on something and had too much energy?
My depression usually lasts for weeks or months before it stops. When something triggered me, I could easily be frustrated to the point where I didn’t feel like life is worthy. I had two suicidal thoughts when my parents got divorced. But there were also times when I couldn’t sleep at night because I was too excited because I had so many ideas in my head. I would stay up all night, doing projects. I was tired but didn’t know how to stop my mind from thinking.
I feel like riding a roller coaster without a seatbelt on. One second, I’m flying high and then next thing I know I’m falling until I crushed the ground. I was so exhausted from having no control over my emotions. Doctor said that I have symptoms for bipolar disorder because my swing moods become more uncontrollable. I had a few tests after that session that came back positive about the diagnosis.
Being diagnosed with bipolar was not easy but at the same time liberating. The day my doctor told me that I have bipolar was the day I got all the answers to all my questions. All my confusion and behaviours, all the sleepless nights, all the tantrums I throw to everyone, all the energy in the middle of the night that comes out of nowhere. At least now I know where it came from. At least now I know that this condition has an explanation. At least now I know it has treatments. The most important thing is that it is possible for me to get better.
I told my ex-boyfriend that I was sorry for being mad at him and explained my condition. After all he has always been the one who was there through my extreme swing moods. He was there watching me making a bunch of impulsive decisions. He was there picking me up every time I came back from a new place and telling him about it. He was there listening to me each time I have depressive episodes. He is still here even though all I did to him was cut him loose. And all he ever wanted from me when he reminded me about the patterns was for me to get help as soon as possible.
For those who might experience the same. Don’t be afraid to get help. Having been diagnosed with bipolar is not something you should be afraid or ashamed of, it just means that we finally have a chance to relearn about ourselves and how to take care of it. If someone in your circle notices some patterns about your behaviour, please don’t blow them off like I did. Because there are people out there who care a lot about you. Who wants to remind you that you are not alone and want to help you by taking care of you when you find it so hard to do so. The kindest thing you can do to yourself and also to those people is by letting them.