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It's My Birthday

Sarah L.

It’s my birthday. I’m 37 today. I have lived with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder for eight years. In that time, literally almost every permutation of the disease has been applied to my particular state. Early-onset but undiagnosed.  Cyclothymia. Bipolar II. Bipolar I. Rapid Cycling. Mixed states. I have no idea what I have, just that it’s my birthday and I ought to be happy, but because I’m not one of those lucky people who get to go years between episodes I feel like I’m hanging on to the edge of a cliff by my fingernails. I’m not happy about it, because I don’t want to be in the middle of an episode and I don’t like to mess up my fingernails—ever.

So why would I hang on, hang in there, keep trying and get up to take my son to school and go to a job which I frankly hate? I hang on because I need to. I hang on because I want to. My hands are tired from hanging here. My brain is tired from the dips and swings it’s been taking. But I have the loving arms of my husband and son, and the loving paws of my dog to come home to every evening. I’m not ready to let go.  etting go would mean bipolar had beaten me. So even when I behave in embarrassing ways and feel like I can’t do it anymore I keep going. I dig my now ragged nails in and try to pull myself back onto solid ground. I make a doctor appointment, go back on something I’d rather not need to take. 

I hang on and hang in because I’d prefer to make it another year with all the wonderful people in my life. And I’d prefer not to let something like bipolar beat me. My fingernails will recover, and I have faith that I will too.


I find my birthday is one of the toughest days of the year for me - especially since losing my parents. Thank you for the inspiration to keep getting up. I too, am in the middle of a nasty cycle, and am having a hard time finding hope to endure. Thank you.

The song Everybody Hurts from R.E.M. pops up to me when i read this.

Hold on and "survival" i always say to my Brother in arms. First you need the right diagnose and then the right medicine. I got 1200 mg Lithium with 25mg Seroquel after almost 10 years of i can keep the faith for a better future, although its not everytime easy at all. But undoable without the right medicine. We wish you very good luck! And strenght to you all(including the dog) I've bipolar 2 and we got also a dog and he's my biggest support in the bad wife also but my dog is the most therapeutic to me. Every day 3 times outside on the move(one of three more then one hour) in bad times and good times!

My daughter is 17 and was diagnosed this past year with bi polarI, rapid cycling, mixed episodes, possibly schizo-effective. She has only had 16 weeks of stability in the past year. I feel for you, as I've watched my daughter and her struggles. Please do hang-on!

Thank you for your courageous sharing. As someone who just can not leave the house today and is having medication issues, your blog is very inspirational. Thank you, again.

Thank you for sharing and helping awareness

First off I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I'd like to ask if you don't mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Kudos!

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