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Submitted on
February 10


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after they diagnosed my father,
my mother told me,
if she had known,
she would have never had children.

it scares me to think that,
one day i could hear a small voice saying,

“mommy, i don’t feel right.”

“you don’t look sick,”
they say, noticing that i’m not dragging around
an i.v. stand.

noticing that my sweatshirt is black
and not a white hospital gown
swinging around marbled, knocking knees.

“but i’m still unwell,” i say
in a voice that doesn’t shake
and they just look disappointed,
like i don’t fit.

like i’m the skewed painting
on the fucked-up-person wall.

“but,” they say, “don’t bipolar people
usually kill themselves?”

“but i tried,” i say
with my wrists unmarked
and they just shake their heads

almost as if to say
not hard enough.

“poor girl,” they say, looking right at me,
sitting next to my dad as he laughs too loud.

they are the only ones who grimace
as they say,
“poor girl.
poor thing.

having to put up with that every day.”

bipolar disorder,” my phys ed teacher/
my counselor/
my old friends/
spit, like the word is a pill
melting on their tongues.

“all teenagers have mood swings.”

swings are fun
until you’re strapped down
and can’t leave.

until all you know of the world
is a bright, dizzying blur.
Mood swings are when you're moody due to hormonal changes and go through "phases."

Bipolar disorder is when you break down sobbing at four in the morning, or drive your parents' car through the garage, or have a panic attack in the middle of the day and run off school campus screaming, or get two hours of sleep and then write a concerto in another three. Bipolar disorder is a life-threatening illness that is not characterized by scars or your hair falling out or a small, quaking body - and its this invisibility that makes it so dangerous.

edit: Featured here!
edit: And here!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-10-14
bipolar. by colbalt-rain captures the essence of dealing with the scrutiny of people not understanding how others cope with mental illness.  It's often a hard and lonely road, but colbalt-rain clearly knows how to create empathy and does it quite effectively.  Enough that it may open up a few eyes. ( Suggested by LindArtz and Featured by GrimFace242 )
shanblue Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
For 40 years I didn't know why I did some things or flew off the handle or wrote the concerto. And too many equate it with crazy, because so many aspects of it seem crazy. Excellent description. Beautiful poem.
yourthreewhispers Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Student Writer
this is an absolutely beautiful poem. it captures how i feel exactly, as someone going through this mental illness.
Tjnerd Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, truly incredible. 

Your insight and communication of ideas is masterful and what really makes this ring out is its simplicity, yet deep effectiveness in communicating emotion as well as physical happenings.

The last stanza legitimately brought a tear to my eye. 

Love your work. 
Nocturnal-Link Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's good.  :)
KuchikiYorume Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
And I hate it. I hate that illnesses like that are so invisible. I have to make it visible for others to see that it's there. And I hate having to hurt myself to let others know that there's something wrong.
TheEmptyChest Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
Oh look, the fantastic writer who is colbalt-rain got a DD -- surprise? No, not really. Haha, congrats hon! I'm very happy for you. The piece is beautiful and the feature is well-deserved. :heart:
paper-dimond Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Student Writer
there is so much truth to this. beautifully written <3
EmptyShadow Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
This was a rather touching read. It is tragic but it is also something people have to go through because of misconceptions, stigma, and stereotyped drama. 

The part that said "not hard enough" captured my attention, because many people suffer without hard, visible evidence. People are easily doubted and the saddest part is that I cannot blame them, because too many people, young and old, easily dub over what these disorders truly are and misusing illnesses like casual label terms or adjectives, conditioning the rest of the world to give second thoughts "are they serious or just expressive?" , and the true sufferers have to pay the price for it. Some people are so petty about attention they step all over without looking down at what they are stepping on. 

I think doubt is human nature, and no doctor in this world ever diagnose correctly for complicated issues like these but I hardly feel invalidation is necessary. Living with a disorder is a challenge alone, then you have the time you waste lulling around to figure out what's wrong, while some (though not all) kept pestering with discouragement. Living with a disorder almost feels like a different dimension. Unless one has education in it, experiences it or is mindful of it, many things that people consider normal and manageable become a whole new challenge. Not to say others must walk on eggshells or that it's their fault for this mishap, but it's still a tough challenge for many with disorders to face. 

I occasionally have severe mood swing issues due to my own mental bits, but it's hardly anything compared to that of bipolar disorder. It sounds horrendous. Not merely the state of manic vs. depressive, but the uncontrollable transition of the extreme. A few swing may be manageable; but constantly? I can imagine the kid gradually weeping and begging for a stop. 

I hope you are able to deal with your issues and that you have supportive people around you. Great writing! 
Otakuchan88 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow...just, wow. This is really amazing, and I feel like this really captures the way people view not just bipolar disorder, but mental disorders as a whole. A lot of people don't seem to understand that these are REAL illnesses, not something you can get rid of by telling them to stop, that it's all in their head.
Oldsoul-Mira Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Student General Artist
I feel like this is more about pride and acceptance rather then the bipolarity itself. nicely written.
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