All of you are lucky, because for the most part, you can control how you feel.
You don’t suddenly feel very happy or very sad. A constant mood is a blessing, a mood which only changes if something big happens.
My life has never been so simple. I am an artist by profession.
The ‘high’ moods I had made me paint without eating, drinking and sleeping for days.
I would have new ideas, and I would paint one canvas after another! I thought to myself – wow! I wish I can stay this charged up forever.
My paintings sold like crazy. There was no limit to the number of buyers.
The sheer energy in my paintings meant that people from all walks of life wanted to buy them.
The demand increased. Fueling myself with coffee and alcohol, I worked and worked.
I earned prestige and a name. People knew me to be the whacky artists whom they couldn’t decide whether to love or hate.
And then came the crash. A horrible, bad, crippling low mood.
I had no energy. Waking up was a pain. Smiling was a bigger pain.
What happened to me, I thought? My paintings became dark and gloomy, if at all I had the energy to make them. Very few sold.
My contracts were going, my debts were rising. One day, looking outside my apartment, I decided to jump. I leapt. And all went dark.
I woke up in a hospital, with a bandaged head and aching body.
I discovered that I had fallen in a balcony of one of the floors below, and had been saved. I hated that. I wanted to end it.
On the third day of my admission, a doctor came and asked me about my mood. I told him of all the glamour and high spirits; and about the crash.
That’s when he told me I had bipolar disorder.
The highs would be great, he said, but the lows would be horrible. “Get treated”, he told me. And I did. I don’t think I could take another low like that one.
Medicines, therapy, art, music – everything helped me. I am still different from you. I’m not as much in control of my mood as you are. But I have come a long way. And I plan to go on.