Living with (and without) Bipolar Disorder By Miles H.

In the past, many individuals felt ashamed if they suffered with a bipolar disorder. Matter of fact, until about a decade or so ago, no one even knew what a bipolar disorder was. Living with any disability can cause its own struggles, but it’s the negative judgements from others that often makes it even harder. I’m happy to welcome today’s guest-blogger Miles as he shares his experience on this hidden disability for all to learn. May his words dwell in your spirit to bring awareness and acceptance.



My experience with Bipolar, in my opinion and belief, can be considered unique if not a bit puzzling, but it is no less, my story, nor is it without trauma.


Though I am not a doctor, I can say I have seen signs of Bipolar Disorder in my mother dating back to my childhood. It was no simple thing to endure, considering how she often acted in daily life. In simple words I can describe that time as chaotic, abusive, and very traumatic. I was subject to some of the worst things about untreated Bipolar Disorder one could witness, yet it wasn’t until I was about 20 or 21 that I had learned really anything about Bipolar Disorder.


I myself was diagnosed with the condition, and I didn’t know what to think largely due to how my mother acted. “Surely, I don’t have this, I act nothing like her,” “I don’t have these crazy, destructive mood swings,” and “Is this my life now, what happened in my childhood to consume me?” are some of the silent yet screeching thoughts I had at that time. Later I was told that I did have those mood swings but not in an extreme way, and I felt I was blind. I learned it was more than simple mood swings, it included depression and mania. I was often more so depressed, but I had my manic episodes. It was a constant inner struggle to adjust to the fact that I had been diagnosed with this and a couple of other disorders just as it was a struggle to live with them.


Over the years I had learned that my mother was only one very finite example of Bipolar Disorder, albeit not a pleasant one. In the years since, I had tried time and again to learn about the disorder, but often was either ignored or unable to convince my doctors to tell me much more than “I’ll prescribe this to help with it.” Eventually I endeavored to observe others that showed signs of Bipolar and learn from those who live with it that were willing to share their experience with me, and my perspective was expanded by that.


I’ve had my fair share, if it can be called that, of experiences of “good intentions-bad methods” in my time while diagnosed with the condition, but even so I had a support system at that time to assist me with life with Bipolar. I was a member of HOPE Clubhouse of SWFL, a community of support for adults living with mental illness, and while I may not have learned much more about the disorder they did assist me in living my life despite it. I had purpose, I had a caring extended family, I had hope. That isn’t to say that in those days the occasional grief ridden “why?” wouldn’t pop up in my head, but in a small way I had learned to silently reply with “for hope to grow.”


Even now at 28 years of age, I still don’t feel I truly understand it, especially since I’ve been undiagnosed of Bipolar as of about a year now, nor do I understand how one can be “undiagnosed” of a condition. I am currently a member of Miracle Clubhouse; they’re my support system just like HOPE Clubhouse was; and also like HOPE Clubhouse, they are family to me.


The way I choose to view it now is that my experience is a learning journey. However, not one to learn and understand the condition itself but rather to learn, understand, care about, and empathize with people that live with Bipolar Disorder and their families and friends; to learn how to love people who’ve been dealt bad cards in life. I know I wasn’t given good cards, but sometimes you have to know more so how to play them rather than what is or isn’t a good hand. You can still have a good life and have Bipolar Disorder or other mental illnesses, but you have to hold on and be patient. It’s not an easy thing to do, by no means, but it is important to remember that recovery is possible! I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the Clubhouse Model, my extended family, friends, fiancé, and determination to care and give back.


Never give up, there is so much more to see, feel, and experience. Just like Zig Ziglar said: “Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.”



5 comments on “Living with (and without) Bipolar Disorder By Miles H.

  1. Jerome Haney on

    Miles thank you so very much for sharing your “Lived Experience.” I too have been diagnosed with Bipolar. I also felt then and even now that she has passed, that my mother was bipolar. Yet back in her days, I doubt that anyone knew what it was. With my primary care, and mental wellness care, and with our very own staff person here at GESMV; I feel that I am in good care and treatment.

  2. Christine K. on

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Miles! You have such a wise perspective on life. Friedrich Nietzche said, “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” All people have some form of chaos in life, but it is how you deal with it that matters. You are a star, Miles! Keep striving to make life the best you can make it.

  3. Monae Dawson on

    Thanks for sharing your story Miles:) . It’s great to learn of things that make you uniquely you. We all have a story and when we’re enlightened as to other’s journeys, I believe we all at some point may benefit from showing each other a little more grace. I wish you all the best.

  4. Jessica Blimbaum on

    “to learn how to love people who’ve been dealt bad cards in life. I know I wasn’t given good cards, but sometimes you have to know more so how to play them rather than what is or isn’t a good hand.” – Amazing line! Thank you for sharing Miles!

  5. Miracle Clubhouse on

    Thank you for your courage to share your story! You are an inspiration to all of us at Miracle Clubhouse!


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