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  • T-Kea Blackman

Reflecting On My New Diagnosis Of Bipolar Disorder

Photo Credit: Cleveland Clinic

Some days are great. I’m slightly upbeat and getting things done. I can’t sleep and end up working in the middle of the night. Throughout the day, I function as if I had eight hours of sleep. My mind races, and I lack focus --- jumping from one thing to the next. But I’m ambitious and passionate --- that’s what most would say, and I agree.

Despite the knowledge I gained in mental health first aid, CCAR and WRAP sessions, YouTube videos, articles, learning from the experiences of others, I missed it, and I am disappointed in myself. I did not count my experiences of extreme irritability to an increase in mood, to the rapid mood switch of depression, and suicidal thoughts as an issue. I did not realize that my depression medication stopped working. It wasn’t until my latest episode with depression and desire to carry out my suicide plan that I became frustrated and asked my therapist about a higher level of treatment.

My mother often mentioned how fast I talked and how short-tempered I was, but I did know why. It felt as if I was on an emotional roller-coaster. I was unable to control my mood and wanted to get off the roller-coaster but did not know how.

I’ve been in therapy for nearly five years. Why didn’t I mention my behaviors and rapid mood swings to my therapist when I noticed it last year? How did my therapist miss it? Maybe a part of me refused to acknowledge it since it did not look like others (e.g., extreme behaviors --- excess spending and going into debt or being hyper-sexual); bipolar disorder never crossed my mind.

While there is a part of me that feels relieved, another part is angry, and that’s okay. It was easier for me to accept the diagnosis of major depressive disorder, but I can’t quite wrap my head around a bipolar diagnosis. However, I believe this new information will slow the roller-coaster down so that I can learn how the disorder shows up for me and, eventually, stop blaming myself.


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