Being Bipolar

By Jordan Potts

I'm bipolar and an alcoholic, much like the late Carrie Fisher. My alcoholism and bipolar disorder are both innate.

I have a history of alcoholism on my dad's side. And a little over two years ago, I had a cheek swab done by my psychiatrist. That cheek swab revealed I have a calcium ion channel deficiency in my own brain. 

Ion channels are proteins, which help flow the ions between cell membranes, and are prominent within the nervous system.

So, with a calcium channel deficiency, my nervous system doesn't process very well, and yes I'm born with it.

In my own personal case of having bipolar 2 disorder, I get depressed for long periods of time, with the occasional happiness which feels as though you are on top of the world. For me, I sometimes feel a little delirious.

The moment alcohol and drugs enter the picture, I become sucked into a vortex of despair and disdain. I become so depressed all I do during the day is watch TV and movies. And I can't get out of it unless someone helps me out of my own head, friends and family.

When I'm angry, I attack. I don't just read a person, I go for their most vulnerable spot. I go behind their back and bitch to their friends. I did this not too long ago with someone back in February while I was in New York. Let’s call him John.

I put John on a pedestal. But then my opinion of him changed to the point where I felt betrayed by my own convictions. I saw red flags, but I ignored them. So, I told someone about my opinions of John, and they relayed what I said to him.

It all came crashing down on Christmas when I wished John a Merry Christmas. Well, John told me I was talking shit about him and I can take my “empty Christmas pleasantries and give them to someone else." I got that text just an hour before Christmas ended. My 11PM, his 2AM.

A few weeks later, back in New York I told a mutual friend of ours, someone I never met, via Facebook Messenger my opinions. My opinions derived from someone who is spiritually sick and sleep deprived, a combination that cancels out my medication. Well, he told John what happened. Even after I asked him what I could do to not make him tell John, which was send texts to everyone I told my opinions about John, which I took screenshots and sent them to him. He still told John.

John texts me the following day and asks me what the hell is wrong with me.

I was someone whose bipolar medication was not working due to the fact of my sleep cycle, my diet which consisted of deli food and pizza.

I'm not proud of what I did. I never will be. But I cannot hide the fact my emotions got in the way. I became exposed as an emotionally disturbed man who was hurt.

I did my best to make amends, but it was all thrown back in my face. I relapsed not too long after. I was called many things. An asshole. Ugly. I never felt so disgusted with myself.

But that's what bipolar looks like. A prime example of emotional imbalance. I was so hurt, I let it control my thinking, my actions. All because I felt betrayed. And I was betrayed. I betrayed myself.

Now let's look at an opposite example. Happiness. Ecstaticiam. Euphoria. This past New Year's Eve, I went to the sober dance in West Hollywood, #Boom. I had a Diet Coke, a Diet Pepsi and a Monster. So, I'm pretty wired. Then, the song, "Let's Have a Kiki," comes on. This is my jam! Today's version of the Macarena. I know the dance routine like the back of my hand. I can lip-sync to it, dance to it. And when it's remixed, my whole body becomes one with the beat. My body becomes uncontrollable. I blame the MDMA I took back in college.

And the feeling of ecstasy bursts through me like an orgasm of epic proportions. All because of a song. It's not that I can't control myself. I just don't want to. That is what I feel when I have a manic episode. I'm more than happy. I feel unstoppable, on top of the world.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Enjoyed with loved ones. After a few months back to my spiritual medication, I rediscovered my passion for writing. I've always loved dancing. And music helps me quiet my loud thoughts. As someone who is bipolar, my thoughts are loud! They swim! My mind is like the jellyfish scene in Finding Nemo. At first, quiet. Then one thought materializes. And before I know it, my head is full of thoughts. And my thoughts will attack. They will attack me, and if I'm not careful, attack those around me.

However, I've learned to control my thoughts. I take physical medication, 200 mg of Lamictal. I take mental medication: dancing and writing and hanging with friends. And spiritual medication, meditation and meetings. 

Being bipolar is no longer a burden. Knowing I have this ailment, I'm able to navigate through life with ease because I know what and where the problem is. Of course, even with my many forms of medication, I can still have my volitle episodes. Because of one little thing called resentment. And being bipolar, I have a ton of them because of my emotional volatility. I remember things because I'm so emotional. And I did my best to kill my emotions with drugs and alcohol. Which caused even more resentments.

Now I'm sober, I'm medicated, my mind is tamed. I'm surrounded by loved ones. I know my place in life. And I'm determined to move forward. Something I wouldn't have wanted if I was still unmedicated. I'm proud to say I'm bipolar. I'm proud to be me! I'm proud to know I can move forward, no matter what I have.