Since I am a twin, life for me always has a duality. During my childhood, the fact my moods also experienced major duality differences never phased me. However, being diagnosed as having Bipolar I Disorder with psychotic tendencies in 1999 told me my life was all of a sudden NOT “normal.” I began to believe that everything that made me who I am was NOT “normal,” so therefore, wrong. I changed my dreams of becoming a famous New York Times best-selling novelist to the life of a “normal,” “stable” high school English Teacher.
I was miserable and ashamed of being me. I kept my disorder a secret from everyone who wasn’t in my close circle of family and friends for fear of the very possible repercussions of the school administration and/or parents of my students finding out I was NOT “normal.” I feared I would be labeled a continuous threat to the students who I dedicated all of my time to.
As a new English teacher, I was spending 60-80 hours a week preparing lesson plans, researching new information and techniques for various unit plans, and grading major papers and smaller assignments to name a few of the things I was busy doing.
When I ended up meeting the love of my life the summer before my third year of teaching, I learned keeping my bipolar disorder a secret was a major reason why I was feeling so miserable. I realized I changed everything about me as soon as I learned I was bipolar. I believed that I no longer had a voice because I had no right to complain since people could tell me “I was not in my right mind.”
Because of my new sense of self due to the fact that my new boyfriend’s ambitious and strong personality was so addictive, my third year of teaching proved to be difficult when a new administration came to power. That was my last year of teaching.
My fiancé and I moved, built our new home together, and were married in 2007. As a married woman, I was happy, but I worried when my psychiatrist at the time told me I had a “D” level of knowledge when it came to bipolar disorder. What?! For a woman who has dedicated her life to researching and learning all she could about various topics, how could she not know about something so important to her life?
So, I began my research. I started writing journal entries, so at least my children would have an understanding, but now after my third hospitalization I want everyone to know more about bipolar disorder.
Update May 6, 2014: I started writing a novel in February of 2013. I’m almost “done” with the second draft. I plan to publish it. I’m so excited about the novel. I adopted many aspects of my life to the plot. It’s fiction, but many things ring true. It’s a New Adult Thriller with Romantic Elements. Keep your eyes open to updates on the book’s status.