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Rated: 13+ · Essay · Emotional · #2106785
Disability does not describe bipolar disorder.
12. It's Not All Black and White

"Stop it!"

I've had well-meaning friends and associates give me an elbow nudge, and whisper this to me under their breath. Others, with a similarly benevolent nature, have screamed for me to, "Stop it!" I know they are looking out for my best interests when this happens, but I never take it well.

What they usually mean is "Shut up and stop being so emotional." But once I'm wound up, I've got to let it go. My brain and my mouth react to a giant biological burst of adrenaline.

There have been numerous times in my life when I have shrieked at the top of my lungs for me to stop it. If I am alone, and overwhelmed by uncontrollable emotions, I may be admonishing myself amidst gasps for breath during an extended crying jag. That doesn't make me stop it. It makes the situation worse.

I'm not just talking about being mouthy or LOUD. I might have some subject or story I'm compelled to express; the story and the way I express myself are inappropriate. But it's like falling down a hill. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets, and the greater my inability to "stop it." The words that come out of my mouth have simmered in my emotional state, and boiled over, like unattended soup left on the highest heat setting. I create a yucky, damaging mess. Often, what I say and do are things one would want to take back. However, once said or done, the damage strikes.

Like an invisible snake slithering through a field of tall grass, pausing only to strike and inflict venom, what happens to me is a surprise. Any companion is often left in mouth-gaping, inexpressible shock.

Usually, I am easy-going, polite, and tactful. If you are familiar with the professional and succinct Dr. Jekyll, and his bawdy and cruel Mr. Hyde, you would think I had drunk his evil elixir. It's not a matter of having partaken of an excessive amount of alcohol, though my behavior would be recognized as that of a drunk out of control. Otherwise, if someone hadn't seen me having one of my fits, they would swear I was a polite little shrinking violet wallflower.

So, to "stop it," one must discover the reason for this drastic behavior or personality change to happen, and work on removing the cause before problems flare. It's the logical solution to solving my problem, right? If you don't want a bomb to blow up in your hands, don't touch a bomb. If you don't want a light in the room, turn the light switch off. This solution is not only logical, it's easy.

Great theory, but the application doesn't work. The problem with me being comfortable in my jeans is my genes, my inherited genetics. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A couple of generations ago, mental health professionals called it manic depression. Whatever it is called, it's inherited, and it's in my blood, my nervous system, and it's a major part of my biochemistry.


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