Tuesday, July 1, 2014

All I Really Need To Know I Learned From A Fish

Sometimes, I wonder if I would have been better off not knowing that I had bipolar disorder. Other times, I believe that it is an advantage because I know how my brain works and the way it can affect my behavior. When I went back to school last year, I had no idea that I had bipolar disorder. I would have meltdowns while studying and doing homework. I began to think that I was stupid because no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get a grasp on the material. Many times I considered dropping out. I am surprised that my laptop is still intact and not one textbook went crashing through a window. If I had been diagnosed with the disorder earlier, I may not have considered going back to school. I did not realize how my condition would affect me. 

My husband has given me a nickname. He loving calls me “Dory” from the movie Finding Nemo because “I suffer from short term memory loss”. Many people with bipolar disorder have issues with memory, attention, and concentration. I was always frustrated. After I received my official diagnosis, I switched from one medication to another. I tried different combinations of drugs and the dosage went up and down. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. The changes affected my ability to function in school. I would leave classes early and go home because of anxiety. I could not pull myself together or get my head straight. Most days I dreaded going to school. If you look at my college transcript, you would see where medication changes affected my performance.

Some of my toughest classes were Spanish I, II, and III. The first two courses were intensive. The material from both classes were covered in one quarter. I relied heavily on my husband as a tutor because he speaks Spanish. I was taught "proper" Castilian Spanish while he spoke the "relaxed" Latin American style. He would complain that the sentence structure was too wordy. He would tell me, "Most Spanish speakers would never say it like that; you can leave some of those words out." I would reply, "But this is the way we were taught to say it." Tempers would fly. "I can't write that, we haven't learned those words yet!" He tried his best to help. "Stop trying to do direct English/Spanish translation." He tried to be patient. "UGH, I can't remember! What was the word for (insert word here)?" As my temper escalated, he would walk out of the room. I would have to beg him to come back. "No. No, you can't...STOP. Please don't go away. Please?...I just, I remember things better with you." The college did not offer any other foreign languages that summer. Even if there were more classes to choose from, I don't think they would have been any easier. Other languages would have been more interesting to learn. I highly doubt that they would ever offer the class that I would find fun. "I wish I could speak whale."

Sometimes, we have arguments where we would say things to each other that could sting.There are times that we have to walk away from each other and wait for things to cool down but, we know that we are there for each other no matter what. He understands me. He knows me better than I know myself. When it comes to me, he is a big softy. He is my soft place to land.

I know that there are many years to go before I finish my education. I know that I will have to work harder and longer than other students to do well in school. I know that my condition makes it harder to concentrate, pay attention, and remember things. I know that with a lot of hard work and dedication, I can do anything. I know that I will have to try my best to keep afloat as I leave the little pond of community college and work my way though the ocean of a university. All I really need to know I learned from a fish.

Work Cited
Finding Nemo. Dir. Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich. Perf. Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould. Willem Dafoe, and Brad Garrett. Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures, and Disney Enterprises, 2003. DVD.

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