“I want people to understand what I have to experience.
That I have to monitor my
every thought and mood –
to constantly ask if
my good humour
is a sign of hypomania.
That I have to be forever adjusting my medication,
medication that makes me
and liable to gain weight.
That I try to do the same things as my classmates and colleagues,
yet struggle more at every step with fatigue,
and a tendency to get more stressed by every little thing.
That I will never be able to skip exercise,
or to go to bed too early or too late,
or to have more than one drink.
That I have to wonder if
stressful or exciting events
might set me off.
That I spend days achieving precisely nothing
because my mood is not stable enough
to consistently apply myself.
That I have frightening thoughts that seem to come from outside of me –
thoughts I can choose not to listen to but certainly can’t control.
That just when think I am finally beginning to get a handle on this illness,
it pulls the rug out from under my feet.
That I live with the uncertainty generated by a condition
that tends to worsen over time.
That I am forced to wonder
if I have the strength and health
to be able to have the things that most people dream of –
a fulfilling career and family life.
That I may have to make hard choices.”