Unraveling the Stigma: Bipolar Disorder

this post might just hurt the most.
unraveling the truth from the perception
is causing me quite a bit of misconception
and even more fear of the repercussions.

i can no longer deny my dna,
it came up just the other day.
knowing the oddity,
when i recognized the new pattern,
my new habits of living;
things i felt were so positive,
with my new found fire and passion.

you see it started with my great-grandfather.
he was an animal healer out in the country.
known for “talking” with the animals and
knowing just what they needed for healing;
in the foothills of the Appalachians
when there was no regular veterinarian.

he was also known for being quite peculiar,
today prolly be labeled as bipolar.
the sheriff who shot him in the back
never got as much as an ounce of flack.
for my grandfather was the town crazy.
who took care of the animals then?

his daughter, my grandmother
carried on the dna of bipolar,
being institutionalized multiple
times in her life for not taking her medicine.
she eventually died as
a result of her own hand;
a gunshot wound to the belly.
her birthday i share,
how could i not be compared?

her daughter, my mother
has her same face, and one
day almost shared the same fate.
the fear that i felt that date
back in February nearly put me in shock.
to arrive at her house, being greeted by a cop.
she had pictures of my wedding
on her dining room table, next to “the note.”
can’t say if i read it or not,the events such a blur.

her plan thwarted by being discovered,
by my dad who called me,
after his business trip ended early,
wanting me to call 911,
because in the house they had guns.

in the ER I almost unraveled
standing at the foot of her gurney.
the charcoal stained dixie cup,
discarded, strewn on the floor.
she just didn’t want to live anymore.
i wept as she curled up in a ball
and slept. I almost lost my mother
that day in February.

i ran to the counselor, looking for
reassurance to be sure i also didn’t have
this thing called bipolar disorder.
dsm v was the latest catalog,
i was reassured, repeatedly,
over many visits
that this disorder had indeed
missed me.

many years spent in counseling,
through PT school,
through marriage,
and separation to divorce,
never did i hear that there
was a fear of such a disorder
for me…

now in 2016, with my new found
energy, that i thought was just
part of my healing it is quietly
whispered that perhaps i am,
indeed cycling.
my fiery passion,
decreased need for sleep,
desire to create, create, create!
“there’s a bipolar 2 now.”

for who can deny herself
such a strong dna,
whose face matches her mother’s
and her mother’s mother.
in sadness, i wonder,
could this also be in my daughter?
her face is mine,
as mine is my mother’s,
as my mother’s is her mother’s.

no one to blame,
yet it’s hard not to feel shame.

namaste.

__/|\__ Metta.

2016.01.28

featured image: 12/2010

image below: 8/22/2015

39 thoughts on “Unraveling the Stigma: Bipolar Disorder

  1. I *liked* this post because of how beautifully written this is, and for what it means to share something so intensely personal, scary and painful, but not because I appreciate your struggle here. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had 2 close friends with BPD. It is certainly a difficult struggle. However, finding new energy with a need to create and less need for sleep could simply be an accepting and release of your new passions. Passions you denied while taking care of others, while maintaining a marriage, while being a mother to a young child. I also have experienced the “cycles” of creative energy — but I am far from BPD. My battles are with depression and PTSD. There is alcoholism and drug addiction and violence that lurks in my DNA, but that doesn’t determine who I am — who I choose to be. And yes, I look at each of my children and wonder which one will have to take an anti-depressant, which one will carry the sins of MY father and end up in jail, which one will withdraw from society because they can’t find joy in this world. I also worry if my oldest will have cancer just as his father, grandmother, great-grandmother. But I cannot live in fear. For if I live in fear of their future, I am certainly sealing their fate to one of misery.
    Breathe, dear friend. There is no shame in being an amazing woman or mother. Love you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Dana, for your heartfelt and touching reply. Part of my process is sharing the shame, even when I’ve moved along from it. I have another that is nearly finished about my acceptance… Maybe I’ll push it tomorrow. And yes, I agree, wholeheartedly I choose who I am. 😇

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Tiffany, my dear friend. First, this was so beautifully written. Your poetic words expressing something so tragic yet beautifully felt and expressed, just blows me away with your talents. As you know, being an INFP we are called by our very fiber to turn in, to reflect, and analyze and understand ourselves at the same time we have a driving need to serve and help others. Psychology being one of our best career matches. You my dear are everything that Dark Model said above. You have the unique ability to use your own hurt and self discovery to heal yourself and others along the way. I can imagine no greater feeling of self purpose than to do just that. Continue your journey and keep moving toward greater things with it. I can absolutely see a book in your future which represents the pinnacle of your healing as it also brings a healing light to all those it touches. Let’s talk about your daughter, your mother, and other family: you stripping away this mask and dealing with your demons, that of your mother’s, and her mother and before her is exposing their shame. It’s ridding of shame. Washing it all away in acceptance and providing a level of understanding and alertness for future generations. May they not suffer the tragedies of the past. You are an amazing woman with a heart to help and heal. I know this because we’re twins remember? Much love to you and may the positive energy refill your heart today as I know just how a post of this nature is so depleting. 💕twin love

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy, I am so glad you are in my life. I’m gushing!
      You have pulled in what you know of me here, through yourself and our shared hearts and it’s quite lovely to behold.
      You were the first to mention me writing a book. I was shell shocked. Then I heard it from a friend last night and now again today from Dark Model that you again echo. This post helped me to see the way this very day.
      In this blog site, I have learned to write from my heart and hold onto pieces that felt raw until I felt strong. I finished the bulk of this draft over a week ago. Posting about masturbating in a mirror was easier to publish than this, so I needed to wait…and I did.
      So I was at a relative peace with this before scheduling it. I have a follow up in the works…showing my acceptance.
      Thank you, Amy, for joining me in this journey.
      Thank you for being the twin heart that understands mine. We have traveled so much in parallel that we have walked many miles in each other’s shoes. Thank you for helping me to love me and heal me! I know I’m doing the same for you.
      Twin love❤️🔥🙏🏽

      Liked by 1 person

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