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Finding joy

I'm So Bipolar

Bria Herndon

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

“I’m depressed; I broke my phone today,” I hear the associate casually say to our coworker.

“This is so depressing! You don’t have the color I need,” the customer tells me as I just spent ten minutes looking for the matching item.

“The weather’s been so bipolar lately; it’s been cold one day and hot the next."

“She’s so bipolar; she can never make her mind up.”


Was that really depressing, or was it just saddening? Was the weather really bipolar, or is it just climate change? I’m not quite accepting of the fact that my diagnosis is a term that is thrown around so loosely. What I deal with is an illness; a very private mental illness with very public effects. The glorification of it by referencing other things that aren’t remotely close to bipolar disorder is sickening. As someone who deals with this illness, I find beauty in the darkness within the stigma that popular culture has shared about bipolar disorder.

My name is Bria and I’m bipolar. In my case, it’s a hereditary chemical imbalance in my brain triggered by life events. I take medication to level everything out, but medication simply extends the time between episodes and doesn’t fully stop episodes from occurring. It’s a blessing in disguise with highs and lows, as you can probably imagine. When I’m manic, my room is covered with half finished art projects and empty hair dye boxes and stains on my carpet from spontaneously deciding to dye my hair 30 minutes from completion. When I’m depressed, my body aches immensely, I spend most of the hours in the day in bed, and I curate the best poems when I’m in the mood to pick up a pen (I also have a unibrow so I’m pretty much Frida Kahlo’s reincarnation). Some people think it’s unnecessary to mention the fact that I openly express this fact about myself. I personally do this with an explanation of sudden switches in my personality.

The stigma related to mental illness, whether it be specifically related to a certain gender or race or socioeconomic class, is evident. To stop these stigmas, we have to shed public awareness to mental illnesses. We cannot continue to closet these issues when we are losing loved ones due to the horrifying negatives to the illness.

It, admittedly, takes a lot for me to recognize the light in the darkness. I perpetuate and ruminate on the abyss in my mind that’s filled with guilt, worry, and doubt. But when I pull myself out of these times, I thrive. I constantly outshine myself and continue to proceed in every aspect of my life. I remind myself to reminisce on the great times during the bad times.

Things that bring me joy are journaling, painting, organizing, meditating, and learning, but not all at the same time. See, the weather isn't bipolar but I am. My name is Bria and I'm bipolar.