Editor's note: I wrote this post a year ago, but didn't pubish it at the time due to just not being ready to talk about some of the darker aspects of my treatment, but after touching on these themes in articles for BP Magazine last summer and Essence Magazine most recently in January, I decided that this might actually be of benefit to other mental illness sufferers or loved ones caring for someone struggling with mental health issues.
I've always been someone who was good at compartmentalization -- which, for me, is the ability to function under horrible circumstances. My gift for it often masked the depths of my disease, bipolar disorder, because I was so "high functioning." Kind of like an alcoholic who can hold down a job. Or, in my case, a manic-depressive person who could get a college degree, have a career and have healthy relationships with friends and family ... and still be incredibly self-destructive.