Years ago, our local paper needed an interview with a gay person. The Gay and Lesbian Center referred them to me for a comment regarding marriage equality. After that I became the papers “go to” guy whenever they needed a comment regarding any gay issue. I didn’t mind. It was only about every six months and I got a kick out of being the gay expert. Staff has changed at the paper and I don’t receive those calls anymore and that’s okay with me. I’m more than a guy who is gay.
I mention that because, over time, I somehow changed from a gay expert to a bipolar expert. Reporters who stumbled on my blog or read my Tweets began contacting me for interviews. Even a major network health correspondent contacted me for two separate articles. It reached the point that I was being contacted approximately every month for an interview by some news source regarding living with bipolar. I didn’t mind. It was important work I was doing.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to conduct a sermon at my church because our minister was out of town. My topic? Mental health/bipolar, of course. I didn’t hold back. They heard it all. I am still proud of getting through it and once again received praise for my bravery and honesty. For those who know me, it was no surprise that bipolar disorder was the topic.
I was excited when a short story I submitted to an anthology was accepted for publication. It made me feel brave enough to stop saying I’m an “aspiring writer” to simply saying, I am a “writer.” That anthology has now been published and I’m very proud to be included and honored to be in a book with so many outstanding writers. It is no surprise that my first published item was about having bipolar.
I’ve missed posting on this blog on a regular basis. It’s been my baby for many years. Since 2008, to be exact. Over the years it’s helped me tremendously. At times it has been the only way to express the pain that I’ve had to live with and connect with others who understand. It’s also helped me just by knowing I’ve helped others. I know this through the many comments posted, direct emails, Tweets and Facebook posts I’ve received. I especially have been proud when the loved ones of a person with bipolar expressed their appreciation for helping them to understand.
Recently, I received a call from a friend. One of the first things he asked is “How is your bipolar going?” Of all the millions of things we could talk about, that was the first thing to come to mind? I’d had concerns before that call that all I’d become is a man with bipolar disorder. That phone call validated many of my concerns.
As you may know, I started working on a novel just over two months ago. As a result of writing the novel, I have found it harder and harder to write posts for this blog. I like to say I haven’t had time, but that’s not true. Writing a 500 – 750 word blog post does not take much time, unless it requires a lot of research. I find it refreshing to focus my life, my associations and free time to something not related to bipolar disorder. Nope, I can assure you there are no characters in my novel living with bipolar disorder.
This probably sounds like a swan song for this blog. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll always be the guy who has bipolar, just like I’ll always be the guy who is gay. I’m just expressing how good it feels to be reaching a balance. A balance I feel more grateful for with each passing day. A balance I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt before.
So the blog is not going anywhere. I don’t know how often I’ll be posting, but I will still be here. I hope you will too. Just know that between posts I’ll still have bipolar, but having bipolar is not all that I am.
3 comments on I’m More Than a Guy with Bipolar
We will always be here.
Thank you, Pam. 🙂
I think it is very important to avoid identifying with your disorder by saying “I am…” rather than “I have….”. I have had to learn this the hard way. and now I can catch myself before I say “I am”, because I am not my disorder. Never have been (though I believed that at the time of diagnosis), and I never will be. I am many other things: Buddhist, friend, daughter, niece, and sister. Keep working on that novel.