30th March is Bipolar Awareness Day. To raise awareness, we are publishing another story in our Moodlab Series from model Curr, who lives with bipolar disorder. To see more photos and stories from the campaign, follow our Moodlab column.
If you would like to share your story with the CandleX community in the form of poetry or writing, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Curr Shi
Country of Origin: China
Occupation: Public Relations Specialist
Time in Beijing: 2004-now
Split, but all me:
I am split. There is Curr, and there is “Shi tou” (Stone). Stone is the sensitive, insecure, emotional side of me. Curr has learnt to be happy, determined, positive, and accomplished. Curr keeps fighting. Curr wants to defeat Stone. Ever since I was little, the fight has been raging on.
I had depression when I was a little girl, especially when I was preparing for the gao kao. The pressure from my studies was intense. Because of my family situation, I was raised by my grandparents, and my parents didn’t pay attention to me. I often felt lonely and isolated, like I had no parents at all and that there was no one to care about me or love me. So when I was suffering under huge pressure, I had no one to talk to about it.
One of my darkest times was in the second of third year of high school. I tried to kill myself. I thought it was just depression and didn’t know what was wrong with me. I didn’t go to hospital and I didn’t tell anyone.
But slowly, I know it was more than that. In the first stage, I fell into a depression. The second stage was different – I was full of energy. My life became very vivid, very active. But then, I would feel sad, like my life had no meaning.
In the third stage, like now, there are the two sides of me. In the daytime, I’m very active. I feel happy easily and laugh a lot. I believe in myself. But at night, I always cry and cry and cry and can’t fall asleep. Usually, it will take hours for me to fall asleep at past 2am every day. And I just can’t stop crying, feeling sad and bad about everything.
This is the dark me. I have to appear to make myself stable. Yet, Curr is only a façade I made up to mask Stone. Stone is the real me.
I want to do something about this issue. I want to use this to express myself. I like art.
When I didn’t take my pills, I write a lot. It is a gift in many ways - the creativity and the thoughts and the products of it. But it comes with a lot of suffering. In some ways, I feel lucky to have bipolar disorder instead of just the depressive episodes. When I take pills, I do feel more stable.
My creativity comes when I am in my high mode of manic state. When I have to produce creatively, I try not to take my pills.
I graduated in 2008 after studying International business and economics, but I did not choose finance because I was not good at anything related to numbers. So I chose PR and marketing, especially social marketing. In 2013, I got pregnant, and even though it was a peak time in my career, I returned to my family and I chose to leave the industry because I did not think I could balance both career and family.
I had always felt that after giving birth to my baby was the darkest time of my life. At first it manifested as a deep depression, but as a year passed by, I realized that that I was hosting two selves in my body – the daytime Curr, and the nighttime Stone.
Every winter I feel myself stuck in depression. I took advice from my doctor and I began to take pills to make myself stable. I also need to take pills to fall asleep.
The trouble is, I cannot even tell my husband or parents-in-law.
It is difficult, but I am lucky, I think I can deal with it. Life goes on. At least now I know myself better.
The story and photo above are part of the “One Model One Story” series on bipolar disorder. By sharing the brave experiences of our community members, our goal is to help people affected by mental health issues become more open about their own feelings and improve the understanding of these, widespread problems.
The fundraiser continues for the photo-album, which will be the most important result of the Moodlab Project. This book will feature all the photos and stories of the models, in addition to key facts about bipolar disorder. We appreciate any amount of money given. Read more about it and donate here:
Our partner from Bearapy (Founder: Enoch Li) is the magic behind the “One Model One Story” series. She conducted interviews with the models and created a heart-touching narrative from their words and experiences. You can follow Bearapy by scanning the QR code below.
Access the CandleX archive on depression and mental health
Are you or a friend in a Crisis?
Depression stories from our community members
CandleX Column | My Story with Depression
A CandleX production on Depression
Bipolar Disorder Campaign