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The Moon Traveler | Half a Life

Bipolar disorder, I refused to be identified with it, I accepted it, and then I moved away from the need to label myself. I am just me. I worked hard on getting to know this polarizing energy within myself in the past 10 years, and I befriended it. This is a reflection piece that I wrote back in 2017, which described how I felt about living with that energy. Reading it again, I see how my life has changed, and that sense of ‘half of a life’ diminished over the last few years. On this day of World Bipolar Disorder Day, I am sharing it with you.


30th March 2023

July 2017

Author: Xiaojie

Proofread: Mara, Lucy

The Moon Traveler | Half a Life

The thing about bipolar is

You have half of a life

Many people with bipolar II spend longer time being depressed

Than being creative, energetic, productive and happy

When depression hits

I was dead for months out of a year

Before I was aware that it could be bipolar

I was so confused

“Why can’t I think of anything that I want to do?”

I used to ask myself

So one time when I was in remission

I put together a list of things that I like doing or should do

I thought maybe sometimes I just forget

The depression hits

Nothing on the list was appealing

I was baffled

Then there it came the long never ending days of despair

Until the chemicals in my brain balances itself out

It cycles

I noticed it

But I could do nothing about it

Even when I was happy and contend

I knew some day, I’d be on the other end

It’s like being in the wavy ocean

Your head is in and out of water

I never had time to make sense of what’s happening

When you can hold your head above the water

All you can think of it to breath

That’s what I was like

I was trying to make most of my functioning days

Running, doing, and rushing

I know the color I can see will turn grey

The music I hear will fade

Some days would out of nowhere

my limbs become so heavy

that I wouldn’t be able to move them

To me, I only have half of my life

When I feel alive,

I spin myself like a top

Once you whip, you can’t stop!

I’ve taken many walks at 6am because it’s quiet and beautiful

I once watched a documentary about lepers twice in one night because it was fascinating

I danced one weekend day for 14 hours, lost 3 toenails and had to go to physical therapy for my hips

One Saturday, I studied online for 6 hours straight, just because.


That’s the technical word given for bipolar disorder II

My body’s switch was finally turned on

My soul woke up from hibernation, taking a big stretch

So I was that volcano, pent up with lava that is pounding

My mind decided to let it go

“Make the most out of the time”

there’s always that voice

Missing out

There were times in life

I looked up and saw a plane in the sky

I thought to myself that they are so lucky to have a destination

I arrived in Paris

Only found that my soul didn't get on the same bus with me

I was in Rome

Having the worst panic attacks of my life

I saw the magnificent architecture

But my emotions were too dried out to be in touch with the magnificence

I was in Nepal

I booked the flight back immediately after work

Why stay for the weekend

When where I am is of no difference

Like most people

I wish I didn't have to miss out on these wonderful things that are happening in life

I also wish that I never have to miss out again

despite that I know there will probably be times that I will

Like for most people that wishful thinking creates a hamster wheel

A lot of times

I feel like a hungry homeless person

That sees a plateful of food

He wouldn’t sit down to smell and taste the food

He’d just gulp everything down

Just like him

I was galloping life in one breath

Until I finally started to do yoga and meditate

That I realize there was other ways

In a way, we all live in the waves of an ocean

Some waves are bigger than others

Mine certainly was like a tornado

I am learning to ride the waves

Not fighting it

But riding it

Learning to accept that others will experience things that I may never get to do helps me to bring the wave down.

I know very well that I am experiencing things that some others would never do

Don’t fear missing out

Bring yourself back to the experience that you are already having

Ignore the voice that tells you to do more

The fear of missing out fades

The joy of living the moment enhances


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