Essays

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Living Harmoniously with a Parasite

Living Harmoniously with a Parasite

In the second part of her essay, Greta Sept talks in depth about her struggle with Bipolar Disorder I.

“Doctor, I’m scared of this euphoria I’m experiencing.”
 “Why would you feel scared of feeling happy?”
“It’s not happiness, it’s euphoria. It should be rationed because if I feel too happy now, there will be nothing left for later. It’s like depositing your money to a bank. If I withdraw everything at once, there will zero balance left on my account. I don’t want to be too happy now and live in depression for the rest of my life.”
“Happiness doesn’t work that way.”
“Perhaps it doesn’t. But I’m not comfortable with this high, could you prescribed me something to reduce the mania? I’m afraid that the pain would be unbearable if I was to fall from this height.”

I do have a reason to be nervous. From mania, the depression could come without forewarning like a lightning strike in broad daylight. The euphoria can suddenly change into an unexplainable feeling of despondency and rot within just a few minutes. Impressive feats I’ve imprinted in my existence suddenly meant nothing, I become no more than a rotting chunk of flesh waiting for impending death. I’m a brewing cauldron of self-loathing, abhorrence for humanity and my entire existence. Somedays, I could dance in the zenith of euphoria but once I’m dragged under, swimming to the surface from an abyss of despair is a grueling task.

Bipolar Disorder is a condition where one’s mood springs from high to low without trigger, mine is leaning towards bipolar depression. Drowning in the deep dark is a plight that I’ve grown accustomed to. Until last year, no one knew about my condition. It’s a struggle that I must survive alone. I could be temporarily distracted, only to be struck with the despondency expectedly unexpected. Society requires me to be highly functional, but managing my emotions drains so much of my energy that I often have no energy left to be fun. I talk to people with the widest smile and sunshine, all the while rotting inside, hoping that they couldn’t smell the reek of my decay.

Although mood instability is what people with Bipolar Disorder share in common, the specificity thereof varies in each person. I also suffer from the occasional non-triggered anxiety attacks. I’ve been introduced to six different drugs, right now I’m prescribed to four, a couple at its highest dose.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve developed an immunity as the dosage continues to increase. A common misconception about bipolar medication is that they generate artificial happiness. Recreational drugs do generate temporary euphoria but prescribed medication merely provide assistance. Taking a pill when I feel down does not make me feel amazing.

Bipolar Disorder is not something I glorify. Victory was never my intention, I have accepted defeat. The signs may disappear overtime and medication would cease but it usually lies dormant, waiting for its turn to strike again like a flash of lightning in broad daylight. All I can do is survive.

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