Does your illness affect your schoolwork? And if so, in what ways do you find that it affects it?
School was always difficult for me and I believe without a shadow of doubt that having untreated bipolar was the cause. Although I was not officially diagnosed until last year I am certain that I’ve had bipolar most of my life. So the simplest answer would be, “When did bipolar not affect my schoolwork?”
Most of my school years were difficult for me and I didn’t know why. During my years in school it was difficult for me to concentrate, either because I was too depressed to care about anything or because my mind kept bouncing around from one thing to another. There was seldom a time where my mind was at ease and I wasn’t struggling with an extreme up or down emotionally.
When I was depressed I would miss a ton of school either by calling in sick or just skipping specific classes. I wasn’t interested in anything and it took a huge amount of effort to get out of bed each day. I wouldn’t talk to my friends or teachers and often would fall behind in my homework. I would fall asleep a lot in classes and most of the time my teachers stopped bothering to wake me up each time I did this. I would attempt suicide from time to time and if I had the mental capacity I would visit the school counselor often. One time I even called a psychologist from the school payphone getting information about how to set up an appointment. It never amounted to anything as my parents were not willing to admit there might be a health problem with anyone other than my father, who also had bipolar.
The only bright side to having untreated bipolar when going to school is the manic side. Don’t misunderstand me, there are a lot of bad things which can happen due to a manic state but getting a ton done and never sleeping are one of the perks when attending school. When I was manic I could work ahead and get so much done that when a depressive state swung around sometimes I wouldn’t fall behind in my studies. This was especially helpful when the instructor would give us the syllabus at the beginning of the term thus making college much easier to get through than any other portion of my education. It’s no wonder that in college I received almost straight A’s but in high school my average was somewhere between a C+ and a B-.
Now that I’m treated and stable I know that school would be easier. Seldom do I experience the extreme ups and downs. My thoughts are focused. Having the proper treatment could have made school so much easier and I’m certain my grades would have been even better than what I was able to achieve in college. It’s very difficult to have untreated bipolar and go to school. Treatment is the necessary key to success.