Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme shifts in mood. Mood swings range from low levels of depression to the highs of mania. This can affect an individuals ability to function in day to day life. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million Americans and is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world.
In this interview I spoke with 36-year-old Michael. He talks a bit about life with bipolar disorder, which he was diagnosed with in 2015.
JM: – Why do you want to be a part of this project?
MS: – I’m finally willing to be open about my bipolar disorder.
JM: – Tell me about yourself.
MS: – Husband and father of 5. Dockworker by profession and goofball by choice.
JM: – How do you define mental health?
MS: – Something that affects your ability to function on a mental level that’s beyond your control.
JM: – When were you diagnosed with bipolar disorder and which type do you have?
MS: – Fall of 2015. Bipolar 2
JM: – What was your initial reaction when you were diagnosed?
MS: – Relief that I was not just crazy outta my mind.
JM: – Tell me about how bipolar affects you.
MS: – It keeps me on my toes, and I pay a lot more attention to my emotions in whole. I’m always trying to stay a step ahead of the disorder.
JM: – How are you managing/treating your bipolar disorder?
MS: – Latuda 40 mg once daily. And trusting family to let me know when they notice changes in my demeanor.
JM: – Do you feel there are certain things you can’t discuss when it comes to mental health and mental illness?
MS: – Not anymore. I’ve learned to own my mental disorder, gives me more sense of control. Helps me stay positive.
JM: – Walk me through a day in your life.
MS: – Wake up around 2AM. Get ready and commute 30 mins to work. Mind constantly racing with different scenarios the day can possibly bring. Work and try to maintain a calm nature. Head home and help with kiddos homework and dinner and then call it a night.
JM: – How do you take care of yourself?
MS: – Distractions when I need them. Word games. Family time, just a bit of redirecting.
JM: – What are five things you love about yourself?
MS: – I’m funny. Caring. Strong. ALIVE LOL.
JM: – What would you say to those struggling with their mental health?
MS: – Don’t be discouraged. Just focus on what makes you the you that you wanna be. That can be a helpful distraction.
JM: – Is there anything else you would like to add?
MS: – Stay positive and stay hopeful.
Photo Cred: Canva