Worth The Fight

By Lynne West

Bipolar by liklucy on Devian Art
He is perched at the bar with a foolish smile stretched across his face. I ask him nicely, “So, why are you online?”

“HAHA, well, I’m totally bipolar,” he jokes, with an ecstatic smile across his face.

I am thinking to myself, “So the fuck what?” But I say nothing.

I don’t know what to say because I have Bipolar Disorder, and really, there isn’t much of a comedic element to this at all.

About one per cent of Canadians will experience Bipolar Disorder. The number is high when you put it in perspective, yet it is enough to make you feel alienated in a boisterous room full of people.

I do not have trouble meeting men. Physically, I am blessed. I have porcelain skin, big eyes, a pretty smile and a thin body.  But I am hiding who I really am while I sip my flat Pepsi.

Every week I drive in solitary silence to the dark psychiatric hospital ward for my appointment with a caseworker and psychiatrist. I anxiously tap my foot in the waiting room. I swallow a handful of bitter, acidic pills with lukewarm water.

Much like I sort my pills into a divider each week, I am trying to sort how men fit into my life. I am also fighting to stay alive.

Accept Me as I Am
And while I waste my time sitting here with this stupid guy I wonder why these facts make me any less beautiful.

I have always known that I am unusual and difficult to love. I feel shrouded by that word: Bipolar. I don’t want it to scare them away but I know it will. They can’t see the world the way I do.

Except there will be that one. I don’t need him to complete me or take care of me or provide for me. Unlike the others, he will understand. He won’t run and he won’t hide.

He will know, despite my usual smiling and vivacious self that sometimes, just sometimes, my liveliness dissipates. I am not always so perfect. Because that is how Bipolar Disorder works.

When this happens he will pick me up out of the empty bathtub and tousle my hair while I fall asleep in bed.

He will accept my manic enthusiasm with a knowing smile, and hold my hand from the doctor’s extra chair.

He will know that when I say the word “meow” with a grin stretched across my face, I have forgotten my meds. Even though he doesn’t have to, he will place them beside my computer with a glass of cold orange juice.

He will understand that bipolar disorder does not validate or define who I am as a person, at all.

He will hold me accountable for my sometimes unreasonable views about how the world works and how the other people are crazy instead of me and how vacuuming at 3 a.m. and cleaning invisible spots out of the carpet is not okay and that no, even Margaret Atwood would not agree with me.

I know this is a lot to ask for. But he will know just as well that I am worth the fight.