With society opening up about mental health and a push to recognize it within individuals, there has been a sort of trend occurring.

Mount St. Joseph University parking lot at night.

People have started coming out saying they have mental health issues as sort of a “fad.” People claiming to have bipolar disorder (a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs, according to the National Institute of Mental Health) and creating memes blaming their “disorder” for their actions.

Recently I found a blog on “Memes That Might Make You Laugh if You Have Bipolar Disorder.” The caption is “Just because you have money in your account doesn’t mean you can spend it.” Just because you have poor decision-making, does not mean you have bipolar disorder. This isn’t what being bipolar entails, and pushing out misleading memes can minimize the severity of the bipolar disorder.

These memes and fads circulating on social media have pushed me back into the feelings and pain that were brought around during my manic phases. These are feelings that I could not control or recognize that they were not normal behaviors. So, I believe it is important to understand the mindset of a person with bipolar disorder. Here I bring to you my personal experience with bipolar disorder.

I feel on top of the world, I am going to go out and go wild tonight. I can’t stop smiling as wide as the Cheshire Cat, I am so into myself right now, my confidence is BOOMING. As I get ready to go into Over the Rhine and drink the night away, I begin to imagine a night filled with a euphoric high. A night full of drinks and drugs, trying to feel something, but don’t you worry as I’m not worrying. Because nothing can hurt me any longer.

After a night of losing myself in the music, here I sit all alone on the floor in my room. No more flashing lights, no more drinking or smoking, no more dancing the night away, and no more attention on me.

I am truly alone, and my mind begins to run a marathon. Why can’t I get anything done? I’m normally such a great student, but I just can’t bring myself to even look at my homework. I am such a failure; I can’t clean this messy room, so I sit here instead staring at my giant mess. I can’t bring myself to get up, but I need to leave because all these thoughts of how I am a failure are beginning to overwhelm my thoughts.

So, I change my clothes, grab my keys, and run out of the house as quickly as possible. My face feels like a water balloon while trying to hold my tears back just in case my family is still awake. I get in my car and speed away with nowhere to go, but I need to breathe. 76, 82, 90 miles per hour as I’m making my way through the highway and my tears begin to fall. I can’t see well, all these tears have fogged up my sight, but I won’t slow down. Maybe I’ll crash and this will all be over. But I don’t crash, and so I pull off to a hiding spot that I know where I used to go and watch the stars.

“I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE” I scream as I slam my fist into my steering wheel. I can feel myself spiraling out of control, I can’t catch myself, and I am tired. I’m either going to turn myself into a facility or I won’t make it out alive.

These nights of going back and forth of feeling high and mighty to low and at my limit went on for weeks. Weeks within a manic state, weeks of putting myself in bad situations, weeks of hurting loved ones, and weeks of losing myself.

Being bipolar is no fad, and I would never wish it on my worst enemy. Nor is it a funny relatable meme, a meme that demeans the severity of the bipolar disorder and how bad mental health ruins lives.

Bipolar disorder should be heard and shared with the world, but not through memes as a fad.