the Real Me

If you put 10 people diagnosed as "bipolar" in a room
none of them would describe their life in the same way.
There would be similarities, but more often there would
be differences in their symptoms, triggers, medications
and in their experience of "mental illness",
both pre and post-diagnosis.

You would also find they have 10 different ways
of talking about it - how they describe themselves,
and their relationship to bipolarity.

One of the things I've been having trouble with lately
as I've become more engaged with other bps online
is a tendency to see themselves as separate
from 'the illness'. I really don't get it.

It's my problem, not theirs. I'm totally clear
about that... what I don't understand is how one
can separate 'the self' - which is centred in the brain,
yes? - from a medical diagnosis that has a lot
to do with the way said brain functions.

I missed going out with my sister and mom and nieces because I was feeling down and needed sleep. I was
talking to my sis later and she said it would have
been more fun with me.

I explained that the way I am feeling, it definitely
would NOT be more fun. She smiled and answered,
but I mean the REAL you.

I started me thinking, who is the real me? Has anyone
got that figured out? I've been pretending to be happy
so long, I can't think of who the real me might actually be.

Is it the me that feels manic or depressed.
Or is it the me that comes out during "remission" times?


I think the real me is stable on medications.
I don't want to go back to where I was. That just wasn't
me at all. I was very unhappy and could get out of control. Figuring out who you really are can be tricky. I would probably say the in between times where you felt stable would be...


I'm already lost. Weirdly enough, the first thing
that comes to my mind is schizophrenia. Given my musical interests, in a heartbeat I'm thinking Quadrophenia.

       I went back to the doctor
      To get another shrink.
       I sit and tell him about my weekend,
       But he never betrays what he thinks.

      Can you see the real me, doctor?

                     The Real Me - Pete Townsend/The Who

I've been living my life for everyone else for
so many years,  I don't know who the real me
is either! Is it the father, husband, home owner,
good employee ... or the loner, the roamer,
the lost in this world we so call the norm.


I heard on Easter from my mother how she didn't think
I was acting like the real me and my aunt and cousin
had both told her they didn't think so either.

I think it was because I was calm and peaceful.
Certainly I was laughing and enjoying myself,
just not jumpy like they are used too.

I feel like I am the real me when I am stable.
I am fairly new to this stable self and still struggle
with some downs so I feel like I am meeting me
maybe for the first time...


I have a hard time finding the difference between
where bipolar ends and I begin. I've been diagnosed
for 8 years, and have just in the last few years lost
my stability... So finding this "real" me, is kind
of weird, especially because she's not always there!

I like to think the real me is a happy, outgoing, competent woman who loves her family and friends and is great with kids...but that sounds a little too much like my "put on self" right now for me to believe it.


i would think all those people in the post you
mentioned, the up and downs, remission ,
all the parts are the sum of me.


I've lost the real me and I have no clue who
that person is. For years I was the person
who could do anything, try anything and
go, go, go. Now I'm the person that is a no show
and just can't do anything.

How do you find yourself? I'd love to know
"what" I'm supposed to find.

It's funny you mention this... "The Real You".
I have glimpses and short snip-its of who I used to be.
But don't think I'll ever be the same person.

My rational explanation is that our brain and our bodies chemistry has been altered. First by whatever caused us to become BP and secondly by the medication that is helping us become stable. Just because we are stable, does that really make us "the real me" or is it just "the new me who is stable".


I used to be the person who never let anything
stop me. I was going to be important, I was
going to save the world...

Now I make it to work and home, just barely
making it through without crying... I miss that girl
who was unstoppable...and not in a manic way!


Its all you. Its all me. Its the total sum of everything
you have experienced... You don't need to find yourself.
No matter where you look, you're already there.

As ever, the sincerity in these voices moves me
profoundly. This tendency to speak so openly
and honestly about the most profound and
intimate aspects of ones' life seems to me
to be a common trait among bps.
It's humbling, and inspiring. I like to think
I have it too. They certainly inspire me to try...

this was my contribution to the discussion:

i only have one brain. i can no more be "separate"
from the factors that make me bp than i can
from the air i breathe or the ground under my feet.

most of us are familiar with the conscious effort
to "act normal" in social situations, but that's not
me BEING "someone else"- that's "me" CHOOSING
to behave in a certain way.

the real "me" is authentic - curious, open, modest,
sad, honest, scared and doing my best to be
of use in the world.

was i a different person 20 years ago? sure!
will i be a different person tomorrow? probably...
but neither of them was or will be more "me"
than i am right now.

       I went back to my mother
       I said, "I'm crazy ma, help me."
      She said, "I know how it feels son,
      'Cause it runs in the family."

       Can you see the real me, mother?

                     The Real Me - Pete Townsend/The Who

Most people get up every day with things to do,
and things to worry about, but they generally
start with a good idea of who they are...

Some don't.

       Can you see the real me?
       Can you, can you?
       Can you see the real me?
       Can you see the real me... me... me...?

                     The Real Me - Pete Townsend/The Who


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