(This article originally appeared in BP Magazine.)
Everybody thinks relief from severe mood swings is a wonderful thing. It is, but sometimes, remission does have its drawbacks.
People can be sick with bipolar illness for years. Spending three years in a manic, delusional state. I thought people knew who I was everywhere I went. It was tremendously hard to go to places (even Kmart) because in my mind, people were tracking my every movement.
I knew what Britney Spears feels like, and I’ve never made one record.
As you can guess, when I finally got my mania under control (thanks to daily medication and time), I was free to go places “anonymously.” No one followed me any more. My life became that of a normal, middle-aged, Mid-western woman, who lived in the suburbs, and who could go to Kmart without thinking a thing of it. No one would know me there.
I was a nobody again.
This was marvelous for about two years. I relished my “normalcy.” I baked cakes. I changed diapers. I bought boxes of Clementines for $6.99 at the grocery store. I had little parties, barbecues and family dinners at Thanksgiving. I made my husband his favorite foods and graded papers from my teaching job at a local college. God, was I normal.
But then, I started to notice the drawbacks of remission. They do exist. Here are a few of mine:
Folding clothes is enjoyable.
There’s nothing wrong with folding your clothes, but should one really enjoy it? Gone are the days of hopping a plane to New York City to eat bread sticks with butter and drink beer in bars. Now, it’s just me, the laundry, and my patio door window, looking out onto a world that I never anxiously venture into any more.
I feel unpopular...
Mania makes you feel like the “it” girl or boy. But in remission, you’re just another pudgy neighbor on a quiet cul-de-sac.
Worse, since I’m not depressed anymore, every day I must put on shoes, makeup and clothes. . .
It was so much easier staying in my nightgown. Life was uncomplicated. You get used to the sound of your own breathing. You almost like the smell of your dirty body. You’re in survival mode, no more, no less...how simple.