I’ve been reading An Unquiet Mind and part of it brought up this question for me.  If I could choose not to have bipolar, would I?

It’s one of those weird, barely answerable questions.  Obviously, I have no idea what my life would have been like without it.  In a way, it’s similar to asking if I would still be gay (yes) or mixed race (yes).  These things have, at different times, made some things slightly more difficult.  They, too, are life-long.  The difference, I suppose, is that they have never threatened my life.

So, would I change it?

You know what, I think I would change the self-harm.  Some people wear their “battle scars” with pride; I don’t.  I’m not ashamed, but I am regretful.  Still, I suppose even the self-harm has played its role in getting my mental health problems noticed and so, ultimately, treated.

But the illness?  I don’t think I would change it.  In an ideal world, I would keep the positive parts of hypomania (productivity, freeflow of ideas, confidence and carefree-ness) without the negative (uncareful sex, too-fast thoughts, anger and inevitably, CRASH).  But that’s not possible.

The lows have been utterly, indescribably horrible, in a way I can’t even describe.  They sort of curdle inside, like jarred dead things.  It seems mad (haha) not to trade them and in a way, I would.  But at the same time… they’ve lent me sympathy to other peoples’ feelings, insight (afterwards) and an appreciation of what it really is to be OK.

Maybe without this I would be less sympathetic, less creative less patient and ultimately, less determined to succeed.  This has made me push to be as good as everyone else.  I might not be where I am, if I didn’t have obstacles to knock fuck out of, to jump higher over.  Again, I can’t be sure.  How can I know where, or how, I might be?

And you know, I am not dead.  Were I, I might feel differently about all of this.  But I think I would choose this all, after all.


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